The good order of the soul with which we are concerned here is not simply an ethical or moral perfection

. St. John of the Cross is not considering merely the level of perfection on which men refrain from cheating each other in business, go to Mass on Sundays, give alms now and then to the poor, and lend their lawnmower to the people next door without even cursing under their breath. pg. 163 But the very fact that all conversions do not have this experiential element and that, indeed, many conversions are hardheaded and "cold," lends weight to the thomistic argument which distinguishes bare faith from faith illumined by the Gifts. And I may add, parenthetically, that the convert whose faith is emotionally "cold" and is not inflamed with an element of quasi-mystical experience is not therefore less virtuous or less pleasing in the sight of God. It may, in fact, require great charity to allow oneself to be led, in spite of temperamental or hereditary disinclination, by force of rational demonstration alone, to an unemotional acceptance of the faith. pg. 212 13) If we do not try to be perfect in what we write, perhaps it is because we are not writing for God after all. In any case it is depressing that those who serve God and love him sometimes write so badly, when those who do not believe in Him take pains to write so well. I am not talking about grammar and syntax, but about having something to say and saying it in sentences that are not half dead. St. Paul and St. Ignatius Martyr did not bother about grammar but they certainly knew how to write. Imperfection is the penalty of rushing into print. And people who rush into print do so not because they really have anything to say, but because they think it is important for something by them to be in print. The fact that your subject may be very important in itself does not necessarily mean that what you have written about it is important. A bad book about the love of God remains a bad book ... [another statement re: johnboy? ouch!] Thomas Merton, __The Sign of Jonas__, pg. 59 14) In the last book to come to us from the hand of Raissa Maritain, her commentary on the Lord's Prayer, we read the following passage, concerning those who barely obtain their daily bread, and are deprived of most of the advantages of a decent life on earth by the injustice and thoughtlessness of the privileged: "If there were fewer wars, less thirst to dominate and exploit others, less national egoism, less egoism of class and caste, if man were more concerned for his brother, and really wanted to collect together, for the good of the human race, all the resources which science places at his disposal especially today, there would be on earth fewer populations deprived of their necessary sustenance, there would be fewer children who die or are incurably weakened by undernourishment." ... ... She goes on to ask what obstacles man has placed in the way of the Gospel that this should be so. It is unfortunately true that those who have complacently imagined themselves blessed by God have in fact done more than others to frustrate his will. Thomas Merton, __Contemplative Prayer, pg. 113

Humans journey through life in pursuit of truth, beauty, goodness and unity. We realize these values through ongoing conversions, respectively, intellectual, affective, moral and social (Cf. Lonergan's thought). Our churches institutionalize these values, respectively, through, creed, cult, code and community. As Catholics, we look for guidance in our value-realization strategies in the light of scripture, tradition, magisterium-sensus fidelium, reason (e.g. philosophy) and experience (e.g. biological & behavioral sciences, individual testimonies). In the old days, both our social justice and sexual morality teachings relied on approaches based in classicism, natural law and legalism. Nowadays, our social justice theory employs three new methodologies, respectively, historical consciousness, personalism and relationality-responsibility (Cf. Curran's thought). Modern Catholic social justice teachings enjoy widespread credibility due to these updated methodologies, which are eminently transparent to human reason. There is, however, no such thing as modern Catholic teaching in sexual morality. Neither are there any such things as credibility and transparency regarding same, neither among the faithful nor in secular society. On the surface, there are value-realization strategies available under the old methodologies that could impart hope to all on many diverse issues pertaining both to gender and to sexual behaviors. For starters, we could more broadly conceive the definitions of such values as procreativity and complementarity, such that they are not so physicalistic, realizing that there are manifold other ways to celebrate being created co-creators and to realize unitive values. We could draw a distinction between generative functions and life issues (Cf. Haring's thought) and then establish a parvity of value for sexual moral objects, such that masturbation would not be as serious as murder, for example. We could draw a distinction between our essentialistic idealizations and their very problematical existential realizations and thus cut homosexuals some "pastoral sensitivity slack" as was done with married couples vis a vis the rhythm method. The problem is, however, that there needs to be a wholesale paradigm shift from the old methodologies to the new, wherein some old terms and definitions and logics will receive new vitality while others will be revealed as meaningless, incommensurable and incoherent. (It is beyond my present scope to suggest which terms and logics will suffer or enjoy which fate, but I have my sneaking suspicions regarding “intrinsic disorder.”) Accordingly, as we look for guidance in our value-realization strategies pertaining to gender and sexual behavior, employing a much more robust historical consciousness, personalism and relationality-responsibility model, I want to know why anyone should turn solely (or even first and foremost) to scripture, tradition and the magisterium? Especially regarding moral realities, then, which are transparent to human reason, we must also turn to that aspect of the teaching office known as the sensus fidelium, and also must turn to reason (e.g. philosophy) and to experience (e.g. biological & behavioral sciences, individual testimonies). If we fail to make these moves and take these turns, we are failing to be either catholic or Catholic. Also, our arguments will lack normative impetus in the Public Square, where we need more than “the Bible tells me so” or the Koran, as the case may be, to urge legislative remedies on the body politic.

Ormond Rush writes, in Determining Catholic Orthodoxy: Monologue or Dialogue (PACIFICA 12 (JUNE 1999): "The patristic scholar Rowan Williams speaks of 'orthodoxy as always lying in the future'". (see http://tinyurl.com/2p5q7w for the article) Rush continues: Mathematicians talk of an asymptotic line that continually approaches a given curve but does not meet it at a finite distance. Somewhat like those two lines, ressourcement and aggiornamento never meet; the meeting point always lies ahead of the church as it moves forward in history. Orthodoxy, in that sense, lies always in the future. Christian truth is eschatological truth. The church must continually wait on the Holy Spirit to lead it to the fullness of truth. Ressourcement and aggiornamento will only finally meet at that point when history ends at the fullness of time. “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.” (1 Cor 13:12) To unpack this meaning further, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ressourcement In that Pacifica article, Rush draws distinctions between: 1) revelation as propositional, where faith is primarily assent and revelation as personalist, where faith is the response of the whole person in loving self-surrender to God; 2) verbal orthodoxy and lived orthopraxy; 3) the Christological and pneumatological; 4) hierarchical ecclesiology and communio ecclesiology; and 5) monologic notion of authority evoking passive obedience and dialogic notion of authority evoking active obedience. Rush then describes the extremes of on one hand, 1) dogmatic maximalism, where all beliefs are given equal weight; 2) magisterial maximalism, where the ecclesial magisterium, alone, has access to the Holy Spirit; 3) dogmatic ahistoricism, where God's meaning and will are fixed and clear to be seen; and, on the other hand, 1) dogmatic minimalism, where all dogmatic statements are equally unimportant; 2) magisterial minimalism, where communal guidance in interpretation is superfluous; 3) dogmatic historicism, with an unmitigated relativist position regarding human knowledge. Rush finally describes and commends a VIA MEDIA between the positions. He notes that the church does not call the faithful that we may believe in dogma, doctrine and disciplines but, rather, to belief in God. He describes how statements vary in relationship to the foundation of faith vis a vis a Hierarchy of Truth and thus have different weight: to be believed as divinely revealed; to be held as definitively proposed; or as nondefinitively taught and requiring obsequium religiosum (see discussion below re: obsequium). The faithful reception of revelation requires interplay between the different "witnesses" of revelation: scripture, tradition, magisterium, sensus fidelium, theological scholarship, including reason (philosophy) and experience (biological & behavioral sciences, personal testimonies, etc). Rush thus asks: "How does the Holy Spirit guarantee orthodox traditioning of the Gospel? According to Dei Verbum, 'the help of the Holy Spirit' is manifested in the activity of three distinguishable yet overlapping groups of witnesses to the Gospel: the magisterium, the whole people of God, and theologians. The Holy Spirit guides each group of witnesses in different ways and to different degrees; but no one alone has possession of the Spirit of Truth." Rush further asks: "The determination of orthodoxy needs to address questions concerning the issue of consensus in each of these three authorities. What constitutes a consensus among theologians and how is it to be ascertained? What constitutes a consensus among the one billion Catholics throughout the world and how is it to be ascertained? What constitutes a collegial consensus among the bishops of the world with the pope, and how is that consensus to be ascertained?" As for obsequium religiosum, from http://www.womenpriests.org/teaching/orsy3_2.asp where it is written: "Accordingly, the duty to offer obsequium may bind to respect, or to submission—or to any other attitude between the two." "When the council spoke of religious obsequium it meant an attitude toward the church which is rooted in the virtue of religion, the love of God and the love of his church. This attitude in every concrete case will be in need of further specification, which could be 'respect', or could be 'submission,' depending on the progress the church has made in clarifying its own beliefs. ... [W]e can speak of obsequium fidei (one with the believing church holding firm to a doctrine) ... [or] an obsequium religiosum (one with the searching church, working for clarification)." Thus, on matters of dogma, I give obsequium fidei, and unqualified assent (or submission); this includes the creeds, the sacraments, the approach to scripture. On matters of moral doctrine and church discipline, I give my deference (or respect), even as I dissent, out of loyalty, on many issues: married priests, women's ordination, eucharistic sharing, obligatory confession, various moral teachings re: so-called gravely, intrinsic disorders of human sexuality; artificial contraception, etc.

  Discipline, Doctrine & Dogma I once strongly considered converting from Roman to Anglican Catholic, likely agonizing as much as Newman, who converted in the opposite direction. How many times have progressive Roman Catholics been sarcastically urged to go ahead and convert by various fundamentalistic traditionalists since our

beliefs were "not in keeping with the faith?" After all, while there has never been an infallible papal pronouncement to which I could not give my wholehearted assent, I otherwise do adamantly disagree with many hierarchical positions such as regarding a married priesthood, women priests, obligatory confession, eucharistic sharing, divorce and remarriage, artificial contraception, various so-called grave & intrinsic moral disorders of human sexuality or any indubitable and a priori definitions employed vis a vis human personhood and theological anthropology. At times, I truly have wondered if I belonged to Rome or Canterbury, and I suspect many of you have, too, and, perhaps, still do? My short answer is: You're already home; take a look around ... In other words, for example, take a look, below, at some excerpts from the September 2007 report of the International Anglican - Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission: Growing Together in Unity and Mission: Building on 40 years of Anglican - Roman Catholic Dialogue. Does anyone see any differences in essential dogma? Are some of you not rather surprised at the extent of agreement, especially given the nature of same? Are our differences not rather located in such accidentals as matters of church discipline or in such moral teachings where Catholics can exercise legitimate choices in their moral decision-making? (To be sure, there has been a creeping infallibility in such differences but there have never been infallible pronouncements regarding same.) "As we shall see, reputable theologians defend positions on moral issues contrary to the official teaching of the Roman magisterium. If Catholics have the right to follow such options, they must have the right to know that the options exist. It is wrong to attempt to conceal such knowledge from Catholics. It is wrong to present the official teachings, in Rahner's words, as though there were no doubt whatever about their definitive correctness and as though further discussion about the matter by Catholic theologians would be inappropriate....To deprive Catholics of the knowledge of legitimate choices in their moral decision-making, to insist that moral issues are closed when actually they are still open, is itself immoral." See: “Probabilism: The Right to Know of Moral Options”, which is the third chapter of __Why You Can Disagree and Remain a Faithful Catholic__ and available online at http://www.saintjohnsabbey.org/kaufman/chapter3.html For those who have neither the time nor inclination for a long post, you can safely consider the above as an executive summary. My conclusion is that we belong neither to Rome nor Canterbury, but to the Perfector and Finisher of our faith. And I'm going to submit to ever-ongoing finishing by blooming where I was planted among my family, friends and co-religionists, enjoying the very special communion between our Anglican, Roman and Orthodox traditions, the special fellowship of all my Christian sisters and brothers, and the general fellowship of all persons of goodwill. Respectfully, JB I gathered these excerpts together to highlight and summarize the report but recognize these affirmations should not be taken out of context. So, I made this url where the entire document can be accessed: http://tinyurl.com/35p69h to foster the wide study of these agreed statements. Below is my heavily redacted summary. In reflecting on our faith together it is vital that all bishops ensure that the Agreed Statements of ARCIC are widely studied in both Communions. The constitutive elements of ecclesial communion include: one faith, one baptism, the one Eucharist, acceptance of basic moral values, a ministry of oversight entrusted to the episcopate with collegial and primatial dimensions, and the episcopal ministry of a universal primate as the visible focus of unity. God desires the visible unity of all Christian people and that such unity is itself part of our witness. Through this theological dialogue over forty years Anglicans and Roman Catholics have grown closer together and have come to see that what they hold in common is far greater than those things in which they differ. In liturgical celebrations, we regularly make the same trinitarian profession of faith in the form of the Apostles’ Creed or the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. In approaching Scripture, the Christian faithful draw upon the rich diversity of methods of reading and interpretation used throughout the Church’s history (e.g. historical-critical, exegetical, typological, spiritual, sociological, canonical). These methods, which all have value, have been developed in many different contexts of the Church’s life, which need to be recalled and respected. The Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church recognise the baptism each confers. Anglicans and Catholics agree that the full participation in the Eucharist, together with Baptism and Confirmation, completes the sacramental process of Christian initiation. We agree that the Eucharist is the memorial (anamnesis) of the crucified and risen Christ, of the entire work of reconciliation God has accomplished in him. Anglicans and Catholics believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. While Christ is present and active in a variety of ways in the entire eucharistic celebration, so that his presence is not limited to the consecrated elements, the bread and wine are not empty signs: Christ’s body and blood become really present and are really given in these elements. We agree that the Eucharist is the “meal of the Kingdom”, in which the Church gives thanks for all the signs of the coming Kingdom. We agree that those who are ordained have responsibility for the ministry of Word and Sacrament. Roman Catholics and Anglicans share this agreement concerning the ministry of the whole people of God, the distinctive ministry of the ordained, the threefold ordering of the ministry, its apostolic origins, character and succession, and the ministry of oversight. Anglicans and Roman Catholics agree that councils can be recognised as authoritative when they express the common faith and mind of the Church, consonant with Scripture and the Apostolic Tradition.

Primacy and collegiality are complementary dimensions of episcope, exercised within the life of the whole Church. (Anglicans recognise the ministry of the Archbishop of Canterbury in precisely this way.) The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the ministry of the Bishop of Rome as universal primate is in accordance with Christ’s will for the Church and an essential element for maintaining it in unity and truth. Anglicans rejected the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome as universal primate in the sixteenth century. Today, however, some Anglicans are beginning to see the potential value of a ministry of universal primacy, which would be exercised by the Bishop of Rome, as a sign and focus of unity within a re-united Church. Anglicans and Roman Catholics both believe in the indefectibility of the Church, that the Holy Spirit leads the Church into all truth. Both Anglicans and Catholics acknowledge that private confession before a priest is a means of grace and an effective declaration of the forgiveness of Christ in response to repentance. Throughout its history the Church has sought to be faithful in following Christ’s command to heal, and this has inspired countless acts of ministry in medical and hospital care. Alongside this physical ministry, both traditions have continued to exercise the sacramental ministry of anointing. Anglicans and Roman Catholics share similar ways of moral reasoning. Both Communions speak of marriage as a covenant and a vocation to holiness and see it in the order of creation as both sign and reality of God’s faithful love. All generations of Anglicans and Roman Catholics have called the Virgin Mary ‘blessed’. Anglicans and Roman Catholics agree that it is impossible to be faithful to Scripture without giving due attention to the person of Mary. Genuine faith is more than assent: it is expressed in action. Given our mutual recognition of one another’s baptism, a number of practical initiatives are possible. Local churches may consider developing joint programmes for the formation of families when they present children for baptism, as well as preparing common catechetical resources for use in baptismal and confirmation preparation and in Sunday Schools. Given the significant extent of our common understanding of the Eucharist, and the central importance of the Eucharist to our faith, we encourage attendance at each other’s Eucharists, respecting the different disciplines of our churches. We also encourage more frequent joint non-eucharistic worship, including celebrations of faith, pilgrimages, processions of witness (e.g. on Good Friday), and shared public liturgies on significant occasions. We encourage those who pray the daily office to explore how celebrating daily prayer together can reinforce their common mission. We welcome the growing Anglican custom of including in the prayers of the faithful a prayer for the Pope, and we invite Roman Catholics to pray regularly in public for the Archbishop of Canterbury and the leaders of the Anglican Communion. We note the close similarities of Anglican and Roman Catholic lectionaries which make it possible to foster joint bible study groups based upon the Sunday lectionary. There are numerous theological resources that can be shared, including professional staff, libraries, and formation and study programmes for clergy and laity. Wherever possible, ordained and lay observers can be invited to attend each other’s synodical and collegial gatherings and conferences. Anglicans and Roman Catholics share a rich heritage regarding the place of religious orders in ecclesial life. There are religious communities in both of our Communions that trace their origins to the same founders (e.g. Benedictines and Franciscans). We encourage the continuation and strengthening of relations between Anglican and Catholic religious orders, and acknowledge the particular witness of monastic communities with an ecumenical vocation. There are many areas where pastoral and spiritual care can be shared. We acknowledge the benefit derived from many instances of spiritual direction given and received by Anglicans to Catholics and Catholics to Anglicans. We recommend joint training where possible for lay ministries (e.g. catechists, lectors, readers, teachers, evangelists). We commend the sharing of the talents and resources of lay ministers, particularly between local Anglican and Roman Catholic parishes. We note the potential for music ministries to enrich our relations and to strengthen the Church’s outreach to the wider society, especially young people. We encourage joint participation in evangelism, developing specific strategies to engage with those who have yet to hear and respond to the Gospel. We invite our churches to consider the development of joint Anglican/Roman Catholic church schools, shared teacher training programmes and contemporary religious education curricula for use in our schools. END OF EXCERPTS regarding stated agreements Below are excerpts recognizing DIVERGENCES regarding: 1) papal and teaching authority 2) the recognition and validity of Anglican Orders and ministries 3) ordination of women 4) eucharistic sharing 5) obligatory confession 6) divorce and remarriage 7) the precise moment a human person is formed 8) methods of birth control 9) homosexual activity and 10) human sexuality. Thanks, JB BEGIN EXCERPTS regarding stated disagreements: While already we can affirm together that universal primacy, as a visible focus of unity, is “a gift to be shared”, able to be “offered and received even before our Churches are in full communion”, nevertheless serious questions remain for Anglicans regarding the nature and jurisdictional consequences of universal primacy.

There are further divergences in the way in which teaching authority in the life of the Church is exercised and the authentic tradition is discerned. In his Apostolic Letter on Anglican Orders, Apostolicae Curae (1896), Pope Leo XIII ruled against the validity of Anglican Orders. The question of validity remains a fundamental obstacle to the recognition of Anglican ministries by the Catholic Church. In the light of the agreements on the Eucharist and ministry set out both in the ARCIC statements and in the official responses of both Communions, there is evidence that we have a common intention in ordination and in the celebration of the Eucharist. This awareness would have to be part of any fresh evaluation of Anglican Orders. Anglicans and Roman Catholics hold that there is an inextricable link between Eucharist and Ministry. Without recognition and reconciliation of ministries, therefore, it is not possible to realise the full impact of our common understanding of the Eucharist. The twentieth century saw much discussion across the whole Christian family on the question of the ordination of women. The Roman Catholic Church points to the unbroken tradition of the Church in not ordaining women. Indeed, Pope John Paul II expressed the conviction that “the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women”. After careful reflection and debate, a growing number of Anglican Churches have proceeded to ordain women to the presbyterate and some also to the episcopate. Churches of the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church therefore have different disciplines for eucharistic sharing. The Catholic Church does not permit the Catholic faithful to receive the Eucharist from, nor Catholic clergy to concelebrate with, those whose ministry has not been officially recognised by the Catholic Church. Anglican provinces regularly admit to communion baptised believers who are communicant members from other Christian communities. Despite our common moral foundations, serious disagreements on specific issues exist, some of which have emerged in the long period of our separation. Anglicans and Catholics have a different practice in respect of private confession. “The Reformers’ emphasis on the direct access of the sinner to the forgiving and sustaining Word of God led Anglicans to reject the view that private confession before a priest was obligatory, although they continued to maintain that it was a wholesome means of grace, and made provision for it in the Book of Common Prayer for those with an unquiet and sorely troubled conscience.” Anglicans express this discipline in the short formula ‘all may, none must, some should’. Whilst both Communions recognise that marriage is for life, both have also had to recognise the failure of many marriages in reality. For Roman Catholics, it is not possible however to dissolve the marriage bond once sacramentally constituted because of its indissoluble character, as it signifies the covenantal relationship of Christ with the Church. On certain grounds, however, the Catholic Church recognises that a true marriage was never contracted and a declaration of nullity may be granted by the proper authorities. Anglicans have been willing to recognise divorce following the breakdown of a marriage, and in recent years, some Anglican Churches have set forth circumstances in which they are prepared to allow partners from an earlier marriage to enter into another marriage. Anglicans and Roman Catholics share the same fundamental teaching concerning the mystery of human life and the sanctity of the human person, but they differ in the way in which they develop and apply this fundamental moral teaching. Anglicans have no agreed teaching concerning the precise moment from which the new human life developing in the womb is to be given the full protection due to a human person. Roman Catholic teaching is that the human embryo must be treated as a human person from the moment of conception and rejects all direct abortion. Anglicans and Roman Catholics agree that there are situations when a couple would be morally justified in avoiding bringing children into being. They are not agreed on the method by which the responsibility of parents is exercised. Catholic teaching holds that homosexual activity is intrinsically disordered and always objectively wrong. Strong tensions have surfaced within the Anglican Communion because of serious challenges from within some Provinces to the traditional teaching on human sexuality which was expressed in Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference. In the discussions on human sexuality within the Anglican Communion, and between it and the Catholic Church, stand anthropological and biblical hermeneutical questions which need to be addressed. END OF EXCERPTS regarding stated disagreements, some of which seem rather incoherent once considering certain of the agreements (for example, not recognizing Anglican Orders and ministries! Gimme a break!!!).

  So, with the above caveats in mind, practically speaking, below are some criteria I have gathered for a fallibilistic attempt at a Theory of Everything:  1) Looking for an explanation in common sensical terms of causation is not unreasonable.  
2) Looking around at the whole of reality and wondering who, what, when, where, how and why re: any given part of it or re: reality as a whole is a meaningful pursuit.

 
3) Almost everyone comes up with an abduction of God (or per CSP, an argument, by which he simply means a god hypothesis) or some other-named primal cause of it all.

 
4) Some use a substance approach, describing all of reality in those thomistic-aristotelian terms like form, substance, esse, essence and with nuances like analogy of being. It doesn't have explanatory adequacy in terms of leading to a universally compelling proof through formal argument in tandem with empirical experience because, by the time we have suitably predicated a god-concept, the dissimilarities and discontinuities between God and creature so far outnumber the similarities that a causal disjunction paradox is introduced. How can a Cause so unrelated to other causes and not at all explicable in intelligible terms vis a vis other causes really, effectively, efficaciously truly effect anything. Also, substance approaches are too essentialistic, as they were classically conceived, iow, too static. This has been addressed with substance-process approaches but these still suffer the causal disjunct.

 
5) Some describe reality dynamically interms of process and fall into nominalism, violating our common sense experience of reality as truly representative of real meaning. They account for process and dynamics but do not account for content that is communicated. These explanations, especially if materialist or idealist monisms also tend to fall into an infinte regress of causes. The only way to stop them is with some type of ontological discontinuity, which introduces the old causal disjunct.

 
6) Some, seeing this conundrum, with the causal disjuncts and essentialisms of substance approaches and the infinite regressions and nominalism of process approaches, and with the a prioristic context in which they are grounded, prescind from such metaphysics or ontologies to a semiotic approach which then avoids nominalism by providing both a dynamic process and content (meaning) and which avoids essentialism by being dynamic. It also avoids a causal disjunction since all of reality is not framed up in terms of substance and being but rather in semiotic and modal terms, such as sign, interpreter, syntax,  symbol, such as possible, actual, necessary and probable. To prescind from these other metaphysical perspectives does solve a host of problems and does eliminate many mutual occlusivities and unintelligibilities and paradoxes, but it still levaes the question begging as to the origin of things like chance, 

probability, necessity. IOW, one inescapably must get ontological again to satisfy the human curiosity, not wrongheaded, imo, with respect to causal inferences that naturally arise and which, in fact, ground our scientific method and epistemologies. Why? Well, because causes must be proportionate and whatever or whomever or however the Cause of causes, of chances, of probabilities describe in many ways but necessarily unlike them in many more ways.

is --- is then like the semiotic process and modal realities we can

 
7) Still, Peirce may be right insofar as he suggests that going beyond this simple abduction to a more exhuastive description of the putative deity is a fetish (we can't help ourselves), there is a great deal of useful info (pragmatic maxim or cash-value) to be gathered from the analogies we might then draw from the semiotic and modal similarities that do exist. God is thus intelligible, not to be confused with comprehensible.

 
8) So, my thoughts are that we cannot get away from a) some type of substance approach, from ontology, from being, from esse ... if we are to address the paradox of infinite regress b) some type of process approach, if we are to avoid essentialism and causal disjunctions and c) some type of semiotic approach, if we are to avoid nominalism and account for meaning and communicative content and d) some type of theistic approach, if we are to avoid leaving the questions of origin begging and if we are going to preserve our common sensical notions of classical causality, upon which much of our community of inquiry depends, such as re: scientific method.

 
9) This does not mean we can syncretistically and facilely combine these above approaches into some master paradigm of semitoic-substance-process panentheism. There is a problem of renormalization, which is to say that they often employ mutually incompatible and contradictory terms and approaches, analogously speaking, sometimes using noneuclidean geometry, sometimes base 2, sometimes spatialized time, sometimes temporalized space, sometimes imaginary numbers. It is analogous to the same project that would try to combine quantum mechanics with general and special relativity to describe quantum gravity. It is not just analogous to this renormalization in physics required before a TOE is contrived, the normalization of physical theories would itself be part  of the TOE we are working on!

 
10) What happens then is that by the time we finish renormalizing all of our theories, predicating and defining and nuancing and disambiguating all of our  concepts, we will have effectively generated a novel language with its own grammar, its own terms ... and it will be so arcane and esoteric and inaccessible ... it would be like reading something that fellow johnboy wrote, when he was relating his latest interpretation of Thomas Merton as seen through a kurt-vonnegutian hermeneutic.

 
11) All of the above notwithstanding, this TOE project is fun and we can glimpse enough insight from it to inform our theological anthropologies and formative spiritualities.

   
All I have done thus far hereinabove is to get us to some metaphysical deity. What might be Her attributes?

 
See http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=2352

 
pax, jb

   
1)         To describe Reality, devise an Architectonic/Organon of Human Knowledge of Environing Realities, which would include ourselves. 2)         To describe ourselves, devise such an account as would include the Human Knowledge Manifold as an Environed Reality, which would include both evaluative and rational continuua. 3)         When devising a model of epistemic virtue (values), avoid the usual (and many) overworked distinctions and employ the very real but often underappreciated dichotomies. 4)         In our modal arguments for this or that reality, we must rigorously define and disambiguate our terms. Employ such criteria that, if met, will guarantee the conceptual compatibility of any attributes we employ in our conceptualizations of this or that reality. In order to be conceptually compatible, while, at the same time, avoiding any absurdities of parodied logic, attributes must not be logically impossible to coinstantiate in our arguments and they must also be described in terms that define a reality's negative properties. For an example, see: http://www.iidb.org/vbb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=47897 and use your edit/find browser facility to scroll down quickly to the first occurrence of the word “negativity” and then also for the name of philosopher “Richard Gale” 5)         In defining such attributes as will describe the various aspects of this or that reality, we must draw the proper distinctions between those aspects that are predicated a) univocally b) equivocally or c) relationally vis a vis other realities. Univocal is defined as having one meaning only. Equivocal means subject to two or more interpretations. These accounts necessarily utilize some terms univocally and others equivocally. The equivocal can be either simply equivocal or analogical. The analogical can be attributive (if real causes and effects are invoked) or proportional (if we are invoking similarities in the relationships between two different pairs of terms). If such an similarity is essential to those terms we have a proper proportionality but if it is accidental we have an improper proportionality, a metaphor. And we use a lot of metaphors, even in physics, and they all eventually collapse.  6)         In our attempts to increase our descriptive accuracy of this or that reality, we must be clear whether we are proceeding through a) affirmation [kataphatically, the via positiva] b) negation [apophatically, the via negativa] or c) eminence [unitively, neither kataphatically nor apophatically but, rather, equivocally]. We must be clear whether we are proceeding a) metaphorically b) literally or c) analogically [affirming the metaphorical while invoking further dissimilarities].The best examples can be found in the book described at this url = http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/0-271-01937-9.html , Reality and Mystical Experience by F. Samuel Brainard. 7)         We must be clear regarding our use of First Principles: a) noncontradiction b) excluded middle c) identity d) reality's intelligibility e) human intelligence f) the existence of other minds and such. See Robert Lane’s discussion: http://www.digitalpeirce.fee.unicamp.br/lane/p-prilan.htm 8)         We must be mindful of godelian (and godelian-like) constraints on our argumentation: a) complete accounts in formal systems are necessarily inconsistent b) consistent accounts in formal systems are necessarily incomplete and c) we can model the rules but cannot explain them within their own formal symbol system [must re-axiomatize, which is to say prove them in yet another system, at the same time, suggesting we can, indeed, see the truth of certain propositions that we cannot otherwise prove]. We thus distinguish between local and global explanatory attempts, models of partial vs total reality.See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gödel's_incompleteness_theorem 9)         We must employ semantical [epistemological] vagueness, such that for attributes a) univocally predicated, excluded middle holds and noncontradiction folds b) equivocally predicated, both excluded middle and noncontradiction hold and c) relationally predicated, noncontradiction holds and excluded middle folds. Ergo, re: First Principles, you got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run. See Robert Lane’s discussion: http://www.digitalpeirce.fee.unicamp.br/lane/p-prilan.htm 10)        We must understand and appreciate the integral nature of the humanknowledge manifold (with evaluative and rational continuua) and Lonergan's sensation, abstraction & judgment: sensation & perception, emotion & motivation, learning & memory, intuition & cognition, non- & pre-inferential, abductive inference, inductive inference, deductive inference and deliberation.

11)        We must appreciate and understand the true efficacy of: abduction, fast & frugal decision-making, ecological rationality, evolutionary rationality, pragmatic rationality, bounded rationality, common sense; also of both propositional and doxastic justification, and affective judgment: both aesthetic and prudential, the latter including both pragmatic and moral affective judgment. See http://www.free-definition.com/Abduction-(logic).html 12)        We must draw the distinction between peircean argument (abduction, hypothesis generation) and argumentation (inductive & deductive inference).See http://www.bu.edu/wcp/Papers/Reli/ReliKess.htm 13)        We must draw a distinction between partial apprehension of a reality and total comprehension of a reality. 14)        We must employ dialectical analysis, properly discerning where our different accounts of this or that reality a) agree b) converge c) complement or d) dialectically reverse. We must distinguish between this dialectic and hegelian synthesis and resist false irenicism, facile syncretism and insidious indifferentism, while exercising due care in our attempts to map conceptualizations from one account onto another. Also, we should employ our scholastic distinctions: im/possible, im/plausible, im/probable and un/certain. 15)        We must distinguish between the different types of paradox encountered in our various attempts to describe this or that reality a) veridical b) falsidical c) conditional and d) antinomial. We must recognize that all metaphysics are fatally flawed and that their root metaphors will eventually collapse in true antinomial paradox of a) infinite regress b) causal disjunction or c) circular referentiality [ipse dixit - stipulated beginning or petitio - question begging]. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox 16)        As part and parcel of the isomorphicity implied in our epistemological vagueness, we must employ ontological vagueness, which is to say that we must prescind from the necessary to the probable in our modal logic. This applies to the dance between chance & necessity, pattern & paradox, random & systematic, order & chaos.See http://uhavax.hartford.edu/moen/PeirceRev2.html and the distinctions between necessary and non-necessary reasonings and also probable deductions. 17)        We must properly integrate our classical causal distinctions such that the axiological/teleological [instrumental & formal] mediates between the epistemological [formal] and cosmological/ontological [efficient/material]. These comprise a process and not rather discrete events.This follows the grammar that the normative sciences mediate between our phenomenology and our metaphysics. See http://hosting.uaa.alaska.edu/afjjl/LinkedDocuments/LiszkaSynopsisPeirce.htm 18)        We must recognize the idea of emergence is mostly a heuristic device inasmuch as it has some descriptive accuracy but only limited predictive, hence, explanatory adequacy. It predicts novelty but cannot specify its nature. Supervenience is even more problematical, trivial when described as weak (and usually associated with strong emergence), question begging re: reducibility when described as strong (and usually associated with weak emergence).See http://www.molbio.ku.dk/MolBioPages/abk/PersonalPages/Jesper/SemioEmergence.htmlSeehttp://www.nu.ac.za/undphil/collier/papers/Commentary% 20on%20Don%20Ross.htmSee http://www.nu.ac.za/undphil/collier/papers.html 19)        We must avoid all manner of dualisms, essentialism, nominalism and a priorism as they give rise to mutual occlusivities and mutual unintelligibilities in our arguments and argumentations. The analogia relata (of process-experience approaches, such as the peircean and neoplatonic triadic relational) that is implicit in the triadic grammar of all of the above-described distinctions and rubrics can mediate between the analogia antis (of linguistic approaches, such as the scotistic univocity of being) and the analogia entis (of substance approaches, such as the thomistic analogy of being). This includes such triads as proodos (proceeding), mone (resting) and epistrophe (return) of neoplatonic dionysian mysticism. It anticipates such distinctions as a) the peircean distinction between objective reality and physical reality b) the scotistic formal distinction c) the thomistic distinction between material and immaterial substance, all of which imply nonphysical causation without violating physical causal closure, all proleptical, in a sense, to such concepts as memes, Baldwinian evolution, biosemiotics, etc See http://consc.net/biblio/3.html 20)        We must avoid the genetic and memetic fallacies of Dawkins and Dennett and the computational fallacies of other cognitive scientists, all as described by Deacon.See http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/epc/srb/srb/10-3edit.html 21)        We must denominate the "cash value" of getting our metaphysics correct in terms of the accuracy of our anthropologies and psychologies because getting our descriptive and normative accounts correct is preliminary to properly conducting our evaluative attempts, which will then inform the prescriptions we devise for an ailing humanity and cosmos, rendering such prescriptions efficacious, inefficacious, and even harmful. This signals the importance of the dialogues between science, religion, philosophy and the arts. Further regarding “cash value” and the “pragmatic maxim” and all it might entail, asking what difference this or that metaphysical, epistemological or scientific supposition might make, if it were true or not, can clarify our thinking, such as better enabling us to discern the circular referentiality of a tautology, e.g. taking existence as a predicate of being (rather than employing a concept such as “bounded” existence). 22)        We must carefully nuance the parsimony we seek from Occam's Razor moreso in terms of the facility and resiliency of abduction and not necessarily in terms of complexity, honoring what we know from evolutionary psychology about human abductive and preinferential process.See http://www.digitalpeirce.fee.unicamp.br/p-scifor.htm See http://kybele.psych.cornell.edu/~edelman/Psych-214-Fall-2000/w7-3-outline.text 23)        At wits end, confronted with ineluctable paradox, in choosing the most compelling metaphysic, there is always the reductio ad absurdum. And remember, whatever is going on in analytical philosophy, semeiotics and linguistics, you can know thus much is true: A single, even small, thermonuclear explosion can ruin your whole day. 24)        Regarding multiverse accounts, Polkinghorne rejects any notion that science can say anything about same if science is careful and scrupulous about what science can actually say, and this may be true, but it does seem that such an explanatory attempt can be indirectly determined at least consonant with what we are able to directly observe and/or indirectly measure (thinking of Max Tegmark's ideas). It is plausible, for example, insofar as it is an attempt to explain the apparent anthropic fine-tuning. 25)        Importantly, not all human knowledge is formal, which is what so much of the above has been about! 26)        The major philosophical traditions can be described and distinguished by their postures toward idealism & realism, rationalism & empiricism, which are related to their various essentialisms and nominalisms, which can all be more particularly described in terms of what they do with the PEM (excluded middle) and PNC (noncontradiction) as they consider peircean 1ns, 2ns and 3ns, variously holding or folding these First Principles as they move from univocal to equivocal and relational predications. 27)        With the peircean perspective taken as normative, PEM holds for 1ns and 2ns and PNC holds for 2ns and 3ns (hence, PNC folds for 1ns and PEM folds for 3ns). 28)        In a nominalistic perspective, PNC folds for 3ns and classical notions of causality and continuity are incoherent. 29)        In an essentialistic perspective, PNC properly holds for 3ns but PEM is erroneously held for 3ns, suggesting that modal logic drives algorithmically toward the necessary and not, rather, the probable. 30)        The nominalist’s objection to essentialism’s modal logic of the necessary in 3ns is warranted but folding PNC in 3ns is the wrong response,

rendering all notions of causality incoherent.. The essentialist’s objection to nominalism’s denial of any modal logic in 3ns is warranted but holding PEM in 3ns is the wrong response, investing reality with an unwarranted determinacy. The peircean affirmation of PNC in 3ns and denial of PEM in 3ns resolves such incoherency with a modal logic of probability and draws the proper distinctions between the univocal, equivocal and relational predications, the univocal folding PNC in 1ns, the equivocal folding PEM in 3ns and the relational holding PNC and PEM in 2ns. 31)        The platonic rationalist-realist perspective is impaired by essentialism. The kantian rationalist-idealist perspective is impaired by both essentialism and nominalism. The humean empiricist idealist perspective is impaired by nominalism. The aristotelian empiricist realist perspective, with a nuanced hylomorphism, is not impaired by essentialism or nominalism but suffers from substantialism due to its atomicity, which impairs relationality. Finally, even a process-relational-substantial approach must make the scotistic/peircean formal distinction between objective reality and physical reality. Radically deconstructive, analytical, and even pragmatist, approaches seize upon the folding of PNC in 1ns and then run amok in denying PNC in 3ns and sometimes even 2ns. Phenomenologists bracket these metaphysical considerations. Existentialists argue over what precedes what, existence vs essence, losing sight of their necessary coinstantiation in 2ns in physical reality and failing to draw the proper distinction between the objective reality of an attribute (its abstraction & objectification) and the physical reality where it is integrally instantiated. Neither essence nor existence precedes the other in physical reality; they always arrive at the scene together and inextricably intertwined. 32)        The peircean grammar draws necessary distinctions between univocal, equivocal and relational predications of different aspects of reality but, in so doing, is a heuristic that does not otherwise predict the precise nature or degree of univocity, equivocity or relationality between those aspects. In that sense, it is like emergentism, which predicts novelty but does not describe its nature or degree. To that extent, it no more resolves philosophy of mind questions, in particular, than it does metaphysical questions, in general. What it does is help us to think more clearly about such issues placing different perspectives in dialogue, revealing where it is they agree, converge, complement and disagree. Further, it helps us better discern the nature of the paradoxes that our different systems encounter: veridical, falsidical, conditional and antinomial, and why it is our various root metaphors variously extend or collapse in describing different aspects of reality. It doesn’t predict or describe the precise nature of reality’s givens in terms of primitives, forces and axioms but does help us locate how and where univocal, equivocal and relational predications are to be applied to such givens by acting as a philosophical lingua franca between different perspectives and accounts. Where are reality’s continuities and discontinuities in terms of givens? The peircean grammar speaks to how they are related in terms of 1ns, 2ns and 3ns but not with respect to nature or origin or to what extent or degree (if for no other reason that not all phenomena are equally probable, in terms of 3ns). Is consciousness a primitive along with space, time, mass and charge? Is it emergent? epiphenomenal? explained by Dennett? described by Penrose? a hard problem as per Chalmers or Searle? an eliminated problem as per the Churchlands? an intractable problem as per William James? Each of these positions can be described in peircean terms and they can be compared and contrasted in a dialogue that reveals where they agree, disagree, converge and complement. They cannot be a priori arbitrated by the peircean perspective; rather, they can only be consistently articulated and framed up hypothetically on the same terms, which is to say, in such a manner that hypothetico-deductive and scientific-inductive methods can be applied to them and such that a posteriori experience can reveal their internal coherence/incoherence, logical consistency/inconsistency, external congruence/incongruence, hypothetical consonance/dissonance and interdisciplinary consilience/inconsilience. 33)        Do our various metaphysics collapse because of an encounter with paradox that is generated by a) the nature of the environing realities, which are being explained? b) the exigencies of the environed reality, which is explaining? or c) some combination of these? Is the paradox encountered veridical, falsidical, conditional or antinomial? Did we introduce the paradox ourselves or did an environing reality reveal its intrinsic paradoxical nature? We can describe reality’s categories (such as w/ CSP’s phaneroscopy), a logic for those categories (such as CSP’s semeiotic logic) and an organon that relates these categories and logic (such as CSP’s metaphysical architectonic) and then employ such a heuristic in any given metaphysic using any given root metaphor. When we do, at some point, we will encounter an infinite regress, a causal disjunction or circular referentiality (petitio principii, ipse dixit, etc), and we might, therefore, at some level, have reason to suspect that those are the species of ineluctable paradox that even the most accurate metaphysics will inevitably encounter. If circular referentiality is avoidable, still, infinite regress and causal disjunction are not and our metaphysics will succumb to one or the other, possibly because these alternate accounts present complementary perspectives of reality and the nature of its apparent continuities and discontinuities (as measured in degrees of probability or as reflected in the dissimilarities between various givens and their natures and origins, some belonging to this singularity, some to another, this or another realm of reality variously pluralistic or not). 34)        What it all seems to boil down to is this: Different schools of philosophy and metaphysics are mostly disagreeing regarding the nature and degree, the origin and extent, of continuities and discontinuities in reality, some even claiming to transcend this debate by using a continuum of probability. The manifold and multiform assertions and/or denials of continuity and discontinuity in reality play out in the different conclusions of modal logic with respect to what is possible versus actual versus necessary regarding the nature of reality (usually in terms of givens, i.e. primitives, forces and axioms), some even claiming to transcend this modal logic by substituting probable for necessary. Even then, one is not so much transcending the fray as avoiding the fray if one does not venture to guess at the nature and degree, origin and extent, of reality’s probabilities, necessities, continuities and discontinuities. Sure, the essentialists and substantialists overemphasize discontinuities and the nominalists overemphasize continuities and the dualists introduce some false dichotomies, but anyone who claims to be above this metaphysical fray has not so much transcended these issues with a new and improved metaphysics as they have desisted from even doing metaphysics, opting instead for a meta-metaphysical heuristic device, at the same time, sacrificing explanatory adequacy. This is what happens with the emergentistic something more from nothing but and also what happens in semeiotic logic (for infinite regress is just as fatal, metaphysically, as causal disjunction and circular referentiality). 35)        Evaluating Hypotheses:Does it beg questions?Does it traffic in trivialities? Does it overwork analogies?Does it overwork distinctions? Does it underwork dichotomies?Does it eliminate infinite regress? 36)        Not to worry, this is to be expected at this stage of humankind’s journey of knowledge. However, if the answer to any of these questions is affirmative, then one’s hypothesis probably doesn’t belong in a science textbook for now. At any rate, given our inescapable fallibility, we best proceed in a community of inquiry as we pursue our practical and heuristic (both normative and speculative) sciences. 37)        Couching this or that debate in the philosophy of science in terms of dis/honesty may very well address one aspect of any given controversy. I have often wondered whether or not some disagreements are rooted in disparate approaches to epistemic values, epistemic goods, epistemic virtues, epistemic goals, epistemic success, epistemic competence or whatever is truly at issue. I don't know who is being dishonest or not, aware or unawares, but I think one can perhaps discern in/authenticity in a variety of ways. 38)        In trying to sort through and inventory such matters, through time, I have come to more broadly conceive the terms of such controversies, not only beyond the notions of epistemic disvalue, epistemic non-virtue and epistemic incompetence, but, beyond the epistemic, itself. Taking a cue from Lonergan's inventory of conversions, which include the cognitive, affective, moral, social and religious, one might identify manifold other ways to frustrate the diverse (but unitively-oriented) goals of human authenticity, whether through disvalue, non-virtue or incompetence. 39)        Our approach to and grasp of reality, through both the heuristic sciences (normative and theoretical) and practical sciences, in my view, is quite often frustrated by the overworking of certain distinctions and the underworking of certain dichotomies, by our projection of discontinuities onto continuities and vice versa. And this goes beyond the issue of the One and the Many, the universal and the particular, the local and the global, beyond the disambiguation and predication of our terms, beyond the setting forth of our primitives, forces and axioms, beyond the truth of our premises and the validity of our logic, beyond noetical, aesthetical and ethical norms, beyond our normative/prescriptive, speculative/descriptive and pragmatic/practical enterprises, beyond all this to living life, itself, and to our celebration of the arts. 40)        In this vein, one failure in human authenticity that seems to too often afflict humankind is the overworking of the otherwise valid distinctions between our truly novel biosemiotic capacities and those of our phylogenetic ancestry and kin, invoking such a human exceptionalism (x-factor) as divorces us from nature of which we're undeniably a part. Another (and related) failure, in my view, is the overworking of distinctions between the different capacities that comprise the human evaluative continuum, denying the integral roles played by its nonrational, prerational and rational aspects, by its ecological, pragmatic, inferential and deliberative rationalities, by its abductive, inductive and deductive inferential aspects, by its noetical, aesthetical and ethical aspects. These otherwise distinct aspects of human knowledge that derive from our interfacing as an environed reality with our total environing reality (environed vs environing realities not lending themselves to sharp distinctions either?) are of a piece, form a holistic fabric of knowledge, mirrored by reality, which is also of a piece,

not lending itself fully to any privileged aspect of the human evaluative continuum, not lending itself to arbitrary dices and slices based upon any humancontrived architectonic or organon of knowledge, for instance, as might be reflected in our academic disciplines or curricula. 41)        So, perhaps it is too facile to say religion asks certain questions and employs certain aspects of the human evaluative continuum, while philosophy asks others, science yet others? Maybe it is enough to maintain that science does not attempt to halt infinite regress because humankind has discovered, a posteriori, that such attempts invariably involve trafficking in question begging (ipse dixit, petitio principii, tautologies, etc) or trivialities or overworked analogies, often employ overworked distinctions or underworked dichotomies, often lack explanatory adequacy, pragmatic cash value and/or the authentication of orthodoxy by orthopraxis? Maybe it is enough to maintain that science does not attempt to halt infinite regress because humankind now maintains, a priori, with Godel, that complete accounts are inconsistent, consistent accounts, incomplete? Maybe it is enough to maintain that science traffics in formalizable proofs and measurable results from hypotheses that are testable within realistic time constraints (iow, not eschatological)? 42)        Or, maybe we needn't maintain even these distinctions but can say an hypothesis is an hypothesis is an hypothesis, whether theological or geological, whether eliminating or tolerating the paradox of infinity, and that the human evaluative continuum, if optimally (integrally and holistically) deployed, can aspire to test these hypotheses, however directly or indirectly, letting reality reveal or conceal itself at its pleasure --- but --- those hypotheses that are intractably question begging or tautological, that overwork analogies and distinctions and underwork dichotomies, that lack explanatory adequacy and pragmatic cash value --- are, at least for now, bad science, bad philosophy, bad theology, bad hypotheses? They are not authentic questions? Pursue them if you must. Back-burner them by all means, ready to come to the fore at a more opportune time. But don't publish them in textbooks or foist them on the general public or body politic; rather, keep them in the esoteric journals with a suitable fog index to match their explanatory opacity. 43)        In the above consideration, it was not my aim to resolve any controversies in the philosophy of science, in particular, or to arbitrate between the great schools of philosophy, in general. I did want to offer some criteria for more rigorously framing up the debates that we might avoid talking past one another. It does seem that certain extreme positions can be contrasted in sharper relief in terms of alternating assertions of radical dis/continuities, wherein some distinctions are overworked into false dichotomies and some real dichotomies are ignored or denied. 44)        Thus it is that the different “turns” have been made in the history of philosophy (to experience, to the subject, linguistic, hermeneutical, pragmatic, etc). Thus it is that nominalism, essentialism and substantialism critique each other. Thus it is that fact-value, is-ought, given-normative, descriptiveprescriptive distinctions warrant dichotomizing or not. Thus it is that the One and the Many, the universal and particular, the global and local, the whole and the part invite differing perspectives or not. Thus it is that different aspects of the human evaluative continuum get singularly privileged without warrant such as in fideism and rationalism or that different aspects of the human architectonic of knowledge get over- or under-emphasized such as in radical fundamentalism and scientism. 45)        Thus it is that certain of our heuristic devices get overworked beyond their minimalist explanatory attempts such as when emergence is described as weakly supervenient, which is rather question-begging, or as strongly supervenient, which is rather trivial. And yet one might be able to affirm some utility in making such distinctions as a weak deontology or weak teleology, or between the strongly and weakly anthropic? 46)        Thus it is that idealism and realism, rationalism and empiricism, fight a hermeneutical tug of war between kantian, humean, aristotelian and platonic perspectives, transcended, in part, even complemented by, the analytical, phenomenological and pragmatic approaches. Thus it is that various metaphysics must remain modest in their heuristic claims of explanatory power as we witness the ongoing blending and nuancing of substance, process, participative and semiotic approaches. Thus it is that our glorious -ologies get transmuted into insidious –isms. 47)        Thus it is that all of these approaches, whether broadly conceived as theoretical, practical and normative sciences (including natural sciences, applied sciences, theological sciences and the sciences of logic, aesthetics and ethics), or more narrowly conceived as the more strictly empirical sciences, offer their hypotheses for critique by an authentic community of inquiry --- neither falling prey to the soporific consensus gentium (bandwagon fallacy) and irrelevant argumentum ad verecundiam (appeal to authority) nor arrogating to one’s own hermeneutic some type of archimedean buoyancy for all sure knowledge, as if inescapable leaps of faith weren’t required to get past unmitigated nihilism and solipsism, as if excluded middle, noncontradiction and other first principles could be apodictically maintained or logically demonstrated, as if knowledge and proof were indistinct, as if all human knowledge was algorithmic and could be formalized. 48)        Miscellany: In the peircean cohort of the American pragmatist tradition, one would say that the normative sciences mediate between phenomenology and metaphysics, which could reasonably be translated into philosophy mediates between our scientific methodologies and our cosmologies/ontologies.So, there is a proper distinction to be made between our normative and theoretical sciences, both which can be considered heuristic sciences, and yet another distinction to be made between them and what we would call our practical sciences. 49)        I think it would be fair to say that we can bracket our [metaphysics] and our [cosmologies & ontologies] when doing empirical science but, at the same time, we do not bracket those aspects of philosophy that comprise our normative sciences of logic, aesthetics and ethics, which contribute integrally and holistically to all scientific endeavors and human knowledge pursuits. At least for my God-concept, properly conceived, suitably employed, sufficiently nuanced, carefully disambiguated, precisely defined, rigorously predicated --- to talk of empirical measurement would be nonsensical. 50)        I more broadly conceive knowledge & "knowing" and my conceptualization turns on the distinction between knowing and proving, the latter consisting of formal proofs. Since a God-concept would comprise a Theory of Everything and we know, a priori, from Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems, that we cannot prove such employing any closed formal symbol system, a "proof" of God is out of the question. 51)        Charles Sanders Peirce offers another useful distinction, which turns on his observations regarding inferential knowledge, which includes abduction, induction and deduction. Abductive inference is, in a nutshell, the generation of an hypothesis. The peircean distinction is that between an argument and argumentation. Peirce offers, then, what he calls the "Neglected Argument for the Reality of God," which amounts to an abduction of God, distinguishing same from the myriad other attempts to prove God's existence, whether inductively or deductively through argumentation. Even the scholastic and thomistic "proofs" realize their efficacy by demonstrating only the reasonableness of certain beliefs, not otherwise aspiring to apodictic claims or logically conclusive demonstrations. Peirce made another crucial distinction between the "reality" of God and the "existence" of God, considering all talk of God's existence to derive from pure fetishism, affirming in his own way, I suppose, an analogy of being rather than a univocity. 52)        Given all this, one may find it somewhat of a curiosity that Godel, himself, attempted his own modal ontological argument. Anselm's argument, likely considered the weakest of all the classical "proofs" of God, was first called the "ontological" argument by Kant and was more recently given impetus by Hartshorne's modal formulation. I think these arguments by Godel and Hartshorne would be more compelling if the modal category of necessary was changed to probable and if the conceptual compatibility of putative divine attributes was guaranteed by employing only negative properties for such terms. At any rate, that Godel distinguished "formal proof" from "knowing" is instructive, I think, and his attempt at a modal ontological argument is also revealing, suggesting, perhaps, that one needn't make their way through half of Whitehead and Russell’s Principia in order to "know" that 2 + 2 = 4, but, rather, that would be necessary only to "prove" same. 53)        I would agree that the statement, God cannot be measured, is true for science as narrowly conceived as natural science. More broadly conceived, science includes theology as a discipline and many typologies of the science-religion interface would, for instance, affirm the notion of hypothetical consonance between the disciplines. Much of Hans Kung's work entailed an elaborate formulation of the God hypothesis, not empirically testable by any means, but, which uses nihilism as a foil to proceed reductio ad absurdum toward what Kung calls a fundamental trust in uncertain reality that, given a suitable and "working" God-hypothesis, is not otherwise nowhere anchored and paradoxical. Another focus of theology as a scientific discipline is that of practical theology where orthopraxis might be considered to authenticate orthodoxy. 54)        Strong cases have been made by historians of science that sustainable scientific progress was birthed in the womb of a belief in creatio ex nihilo, in other words, a belief in the contingent nature of reality, which, when combined with the Greek belief in reality's rationality, provided the cultural matrix for science's explosive growth in the Christian West.

55)        I suppose there is an element of the aesthetic that guides one toward such an interpretation as Bohm's rather than Bohr's, Chalmers, Searle or Penrose rather than Dennett, the Churchlands or Crick, Pascal rather than Nietzsche --- but something else is going on, and it is not time-honored, when anyone chooses info to fit an interpretation, which is a different enterprise from the formulation of alternative interpretations that are hypothetically consonant with whatever info is available at the time. 56)        To say more succinctly what I elaborate below: Approaching facts is one matter, rules another, and facts about rules, yet another. There's no explaining or justifying rules within their own systems and one hops onto an epistemological pogo stick, incessantly jumping to yet another system with such explanatory/justificatory attempts (cf. Godel). Thankfully, Popperian falsification short circuits rule justification in our pursuit of facts and the reductio ad absurdum (with some caveats) short circuits formal philosophy in our pursuit of rule justification, which is otherwise, inescapably, going to be question begging, rendering our metasystems, in principle, tautological. An example of a caveat there is that one overworks the humean dictum re: existence as a predicate of being when asserting that existence cannot be taken as a predicate of being -- because it certainly can. One underappreciates the humean perspective when one forgets that taking existence as a predicate of being is a tautology. But so are all metaphysics, which are all fatally flawed. None of this is about escaping all antinomial paradox but, rather, finding the metasystem least susceptible to multiple births of paradox, least pregnant with paradox --- or, finding that metasystem which, however fatally flawed, is least morbid. 57)        In dealing with metasystem formulations, inevitably, we must confront the time-honored question: random or systematic? chance or necessity? order or chaos? pattern or paradox? At least, for me, this seems to capture the conundrum at issue.This conundrum is ubiquitous and presents itself not only in metaphysics but in physics, not only in speculative cosmology and the quantum realm but also in speculative cognitive science and the realm of consciousness. This is reminiscent of the dynamic in the TV gameshow, Jeopardy, for these dyads --- of random, chance, chaos, paradox vis a vis systematic, necessity, order, pattern --- offer themselves as answers to a larger question posed in a bigger framework. That question might be framed as: What is it that mediates between the possible and the actual? 58)        My brain loves that question and pondering the implications of those dyads seems to help keep my neurotransmitters in balance, quite often firing off enough extra endorphins to help me pedal my bike an extra mile or two, any given day. That question presents when we consider reality both locally and globally, particularly or universally, in part or as a whole. I have pondered such extensively as set forth here: http://bellsouthpwp.net/p/e/per-ardua-adastra/epistemic.htm and elsewhere http://bellsouthpwp.net/p/e/per-ardua-ad-astra/merton.htm [links at the top of this page] and one day I may take on the task of making such musings more accessible. For now, it seems that I have practiced the Franciscan virtue of seeking to understand rather than to be understood and turned it into a vice, practicing it to a fault. 59)        I will say this: Science is a human convention, an agreement entered into by an earnest community of inquiry. It seems to operate on a consensus regarding 1) primitives (space, time, mass and energy/charge) 2) forces (strong and weak, electromagnetic and gravity) and 3) axioms (laws of thermodynamics and so forth) and the relationships they reveal as this community proceeds via 4) popperian falsification, which, as Popper properly understood and many others do not, is not, itself, falsifiable. There are no strict lines between physics and metaphysics inasmuch as any tweaking of these categories by theoretical scientists is meta-physical, for instance, such as by those who'd add consciousness as a primitive, quantum gravity as a force and statistical quantum law as an axiom. The crossing-over from philosophy to science and from metaphysics to physics by this or that notion is not so much determined a priori as based on any given attributes of a particular idea regarding primitives, forces and axioms but, rather, takes place when such can be framed up in such a manner as it can be empirically falsified.  We know this from the history of philosophy, science and metaphysics -- although the pace of cross-over has slowed a tad. 60)        Framing up reality in falsifiable bits and pieces is no simple matter to one who agrees with Haldane that reality is not only stranger than we imagine but stranger than we can imagine. Still, as is born into our very nature as epistemological optimists, we might temper this view by taking Chesterton's counsel that we do not know enough about reality, yet, to say that it is unknowable. We just do not know, a priori, either where we will hit an explanatory wall or where we will break through same, this notwithstanding such as G. E. Pugh's remark to the effect that if the brain were simple enough for us to understand it, we would be so simple that we couldn't. 61)        What we do know, a priori, are our own rules and conventions and we can predict whether or not an explanatory wall will either be hit or penetrated --but only if we narrowly conceive of that wall as being built with the bricks of empirical evidence and the mortar of formal proofs. An explanatory wall thus  conceived is indeed subject to godelian constraints, which allow us to model rules that we are otherwise precluded from explaining. In reality, though, one would commit the equivalent of an epistemological Maginot Line blunder if one built her explanatory wall exclusively of such materials, for, as we know, a large portion of human knowledge lies outside of any such a narrowly conceived epistemic structure. Indeed, we know far more than we can ever prove (or falsify) 62)        Now, to be sure, we must remain well aware that we are freely choosing our axioms and first principles and that, consistent with godelian and popperian constraints, they can neither be logically demonstrated, a priori, nor scientifically falsified, a posteriori. We should keep an eye open, too, to the critiques of Descartes, Hume and Kant, insofar as they seem to have anticipated, in many ways, these godelian and popperian formalizations, as well as some of the dynamics explored by the analytical cohort. What I personally cannot countenance, however, is any epistemological caving in to such constraints and critiques (cartesian, kantian and humean); the proper response, if the normative sciences are to retain any sway whatsoever, would seem, rather, to be a trading in of any naive realism for a critical realism (staying mostly aristotelian cum neoplatonic?). So, too, the humean fact-value distinction, worth considering, should not be overworked into a false dichotomy? 63)        If, in our inescapable fallibility, we have been dispossessed of any apodictic claims to necessity and logical demonstrations of our first principles,  still, we do have at our disposal the judicious use of the reductio ad absurdum as our backdoor philosophy. True enough, the counterintuitive is not, in and of itself, an infallible beacon of truth, for science has demonstrated many counterintuitive notions to be true, given certain axioms. Nonetheless, absent any demonstration to the contrary and guided by an earnest community of inquiry, would we not do best to reject such as solipsism and radical nihilism, and to embrace noncontradiction and excluded middle (within the norms suggested by both epistemological and ontological vagueness, which is another exhuastive consideration)? 64)        So, yes, in freely choosing such axioms as we might employ in our attempt to answer the question --- What mediates between the possible and the actual? --- we are free to opt for chance or necessity, for order or chaos, for pattern or paradox, for the random or systematic, and we are free to apply such an option locally and/or globally, particularly or universally, to the whole of reality or to any part, and no one can dispossess us, through formal proof or with empirical evidence, of our chosen axioms. And, yes, once we have chosen such axioms, such meta-systems, we must recognize that, fundamentally, they are clearly tautological by design and in principle, and that any apologetic for same will be rather question begging. [Every time we open an ontological window, reality closes an epistemological door, I like to say.] The only recourse we have that seems to be at all compelling is the old reductio ad absurdum, taking this or that set of axioms, applying them to reality as best we have come to grasp same, and, after extrapolating it all to some putative logical conclusion, then testing it all for congruence with reality (and with whatever else happens to be in that suite of epistemological criteria as might comprise this or that community of inquiry's epistemic desiderata). 65)        As a relevant aside, I have found that we best modify our modal ontological logic of possible, actual and necessary to possible, actual and probable, which allows one to prescind from the dyads of chance/necessity, order/chaos, pattern/paradox, random/systematic --- as these more and more seem to describe distinctions that should not be overworked into dichotomies, not that I am an inveterate peircean triadimaniac -- for I am, rather, a pan-entheistic tetradimaniac (seems to me to be the least pregnant, anyway). 66)        What mediates between the possible and the actual? Probably, the probable. [And that may be the window Reality opened for Hefner's co-creators as God shrunk from the necessary? And that may be the future-oriented rupture between our essential possibilities and their existential realizations in Haught's teleological account of original sin?] 67)        When the Beatles were with the Maharishi in India, at the end of one session, he offered anyone who was interested a ride back to the compound 

with him on his helicopter. John volunteered. When later queried about why he decided to go, John quipped: "Because I thought he'd slip me the answer." jb  is going to slip you the answer.Ever heard of the pragmatic maxim?In my words, jb's maxim, it translates into What would you do differently if you had the answer? [And it doesn't matter what the question is or that it necessarily be THE question, whatever that is.] Now, if Lonergan's conversions --- cognitive, moral, affective, sociopolitical and religious --- were all fully effected in a human being and that person were truly authentic in lonerganian terms, mostly transformed in terms of classical theosis, then how would an authentic/transformed human answer the question: What would you do differently if you had the answer?S/he would answer thusly: Nothing. 68)        That's what I really like most about lovers. I've seen them struggle with all these questions and have even seen them afflicted by these questions to an extent, but lovers are clearly among those for whom I know the answer to the above-question is: Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada.That's the epitome of unconditional love and that's the essence of the Imago Dei.And that is a small comfort ... so, it's a good thing that comfort is not what it's all about, Alfie. Carry on. Do carry on 69)        In another vein, all of philosophy seems to turn on those three big questions of Kant: What can I know? What can I hope for? What must I do?The astute observer might recognize that these questions correspond to truth, beauty and goodness and have been answered by philosophers in terms of logic, aesthetics and ethics and by religions in terms of creed, cult and code. They also correspond to the three theological virtues of faith, hope and love and to our psychological faculties of the cognitive, affective and moral (again, think Lonergan). At some point on my journey, I rested and answered these questions thusly: I don't know and I don't need to know. I don't feel and I don't need to feel. I love and I need to forgive.All of a sudden --- I kid ya not --- all manner of truth, beauty and goodness started chasing me rather than vice versa! If we frame the issue in terms of foci of concern, then the scientific focus will be more narrowly defined than the theological. The first is positivistic, the latter, philosophic. 70)        The scientific focus looks at facts through the lens of popperian falsification. It structures its arguments formally and thus employs mathematics and  other closed, formal symbol systems through which it can establish correspondence between those parts of reality we agree to call givens: primitives (space,  time, mass/charge, energy), forces (weak, strong, electromagnetic, gravity) and axioms (conservation, thermodynamics). It seeks to provide descriptive accounts of these parts of reality and deals in proofs.  71)        The philosophic focus is a wider perspective, which is to say it embraces additional concerns by looking through the lenses of the normative sciences of logic, aesthetics and ethics. It looks at rules. Its arguments are not formally constructed but it does try to establish coherence in its accounts of reality. It seeks to provide evaluative accounts of reality as a whole and deals in justifications. 72)        Lonergan scholar, Daniel Helminiak, defines two additional foci of concern, which are progressively wider perspectives, the theistic and theotic, the latter having to do with human transformation in relation to God (and which might represent one of many perspectives presented at Star). 73)        Broader perspectives, wider foci of concern, do not invalidate the narrower foci, if for no other reason, then, because they are focusing on different aspects of reality, in fact, additional aspects. 74)        In Jeff's frontier town, out on the working edge of science, any novel concepts being introduced must indeed be precisely specified in the language of science, which is to say one must introduce a novel primitive, force or axiom, or a novel interaction between existing givens, into a closed, formal symbol  system like mathematics. This novelty can then be tested for correspondence with reality, in other words, factuality, through popperian falisfication (which is not itself falsifiable). 75)        As for unfortunate trends among scientists, philosophers and theologians, descriptively, in terms of blurred focus, these are manifold and varied with no monopolies on same? I am time-constrained, wrote this hurriedly and must run. My next consideration was going to be Theories of Everything and how they should be categorized and why? Any ideas? 76)        Obviously, I could not elaborate a comprehensive organon/architectonic of human knowledge categories in only four paragraphs and thus did not draw out such distinctions as, for instance, the very living of life, itself, from the arts, the practical sciences, the heuristic sciences, the theoretical sciences,  the normative sciences and so on. The particular point I was making, however, more particularly turned on the distinction between those matters in life which we prove versus those which we otherwise justify. As a retired bank chairman/president, I must say that it would have pleased me very much, too, to have seen the justice system derive more of its rules from logic. Note, also, the operative word, derive, and you'll have some sense of how my elaboration will unfold 77)        Because one of the manifold criteria for good hypotheses vis a vis the scientific method is the making of measurable predictions in the context of hypothetico-deductive and inductive reasoning, we might properly talk about proof as being more broadly conceived, our descriptive accounts lending  themselves to measurements (and hypothetical fecundity). Of course, induction, itself, is not formal logic, anyway 78)        Those trends that frighten me the most are the different fundamentalisms (including both the religious fundamentalisms and enlightenment fundamentalism or scientism). 79)        By Theory of Everything (TOE).  I mean such as M-theory, superstrings, quantum gravity, unified field theory, etc in the realm of theoretical physics. I  believe there are metamathematical problems that inhere in such a TOE as set forth in Godel's incompleteness theorems. This is not to suggest a TOE  could not be mathematically formulated but only to say it could not, in principle, be proven. Neither is this to suggest that, because it couldn't be formally demonstrated, we wouldn't otherwise know we'd discovered same. 80)        A long time ago, my graduate research was in neuroendocrinology Also, the emergentist heuristic of something more from nothing but may have implications for some of the difficulties that remain in our understanding of consciousness? As far as philosophic accounts of same, my overall theological perspective doesn't turn on whether or not Dennett, Searle, Chalmers, Penrose, Ayn Rand or the Churchlands are correct (vis a vis the positivistic elements of  their accounts), although, presently, I'm leaning toward Deacon's rather peircean biosemiotic perspective. 81)        For me to have written this: "Neither is this to suggest that, because it couldn't be formally demonstrated, we wouldn't otherwise know we'd discovered same," maybe I was talking about both? I purposefully left the categorization of any TOE open to tease out different perspectives. My take, to avoid being too coy, is that a TOE requires more than a positivistic focus. It necessarily involves a broadening of our scientific focus to embrace the additional concerns of the philosophic. Some folks go further. 82)        It's my guess that Baldwinian evolution captures many imaginations because it employs the notion of downward causation. Furthermore, if one  frames up the problem of consciousness biosemiotically, in some sense one recovers the classic aristotelian notions of material, formal and final causality. Exciting? Yes. But ... 83)        However, one doesn't need to a priori dismiss cartesian dualism and neither does one need to a priori embrace a fully reductionistic philosophy of mind (including the physical causal closure of the universe) to, at the same time, recognize that such biosemiotic accounts do not, necessarily, violate  known physical laws or the idea of physical causal closure. In other words, there can be strong and weak versions of downward causation, both being both nonphysical and nonreductive, and the emergentistic, biosemiotic account of evolving complexity utilizes the weak version. This does involve a work-around of frameworks that employ strictly efficient causation. 84)        What might some of us do with our imaginations? Well, we might invoke various analogies from different physical and/or semiotic accounts to our philosophic, metaphysical and even theological accounts. And, sometimes, we might lose sight of how progressively weak these analogies can become. 85)        I suppose I could at least be pleased that Dawkins did not consider mystics and obscurantists to be a redundancy? My charitable interpretation 

would be that he recognized that the conscious and deliberate invocation of analogies by authentic mystics, who have their eyes open to this analogical dynamic (apophatically inclined as they are!), is valid (even if he might impute little pragmatic cash value to same), while, for their part, the obscurantists might even altogether deny the metaphorical and analogical nature of their extrapolations (not necessarily in bad faith). [The evidence in favor of a charitable  interpretation is not being weighed here.]  At any rate, the medieval scotistic notion of the formal distinction, the peircean distinction between objective and  physical reality, and the semiotic notion of form realism don't invite ghosts into machines or gods into gaps. Metaphorically and analogically,  and  metaphysically, however, different notions of causation are ... let me say ... interesting.  86)        All that said, consciousness remains way overdetermined, scientifically speaking, as well as, philosophically speaking, both epistemologically and ontologically open (as far as strongly emergent, weakly supervenient systems are concerned, not to say that supervenience might not be a rather trivial notion). Pugh may be on to something: If our brains were so simple we could understand them, we would be so simple that we couldn't (or something like that). I submit we have no a priori justification for selecting a philosophy of mind and precious little a posteriori warrant either. Gun to my head, however, I like Deacon (and his important nuances of the accounts of Dennett and Dawkins re: memetic, genetic and computational fallacies). 87)        Godel's relevance to a TOE is controversial. I'd be willing to argue both sides. But let me agree with you by suggesting physics is formal and physicists (and Nature and God) are not, by drawing a distinction between proving and knowing, by recognizing that even if a TOE was mathematically formulated in a positivistic/descriptive framework, we'd have to fall back on our philosophic/evaluative framework to justify our faith in it. 88)        In reading Hawking's take on Godel's relevance to a TOE he does seem to draw an obvious direct metamathematical connection? But I cannot say that he did so unequivocally because almost everything else he said after that clearly invoked Godel analogously. So, at the very least, per Hawking, a  physical theory is going to be Godel-like (M-theory per his discussion).  Hawking's lecture can be heard here:  http://www.damtp.cam.ac.uk/strtst/dirac/hawking/audio.ram  89)        I can better wrap my positivistic mind around a weak anthropic principle in the same way I can accept weak versions of downward causation and weak deontological ethics even as I do not a priori rule out the strong versions. Heidegger's question has been rephrased, lately, as Why is there something and not rather something else? and this makes the strong anthropic principle more compelling in some philosophic frameworks (but understandably trivial in  others). Wittgenstein's It's not how things are but that things are which is the mystical doesn't sway those who'd not take existence as a predicate of being, but what about a bounded existence, a universe in a multiverse, in a pluralistic reality? Maybe there is some univocity of being (Duns Scotist) and some analogy of being (thomism), too? [For instance, a pan-entheism is monistic, dualistic and pluralistic.]  90)        Chesterton said that we do not know enough about reality to say that it is unknowable and Haldane says that reality is not only stranger than we imagine but stranger than we can imagine. They can both be correct. If humankind does formulate a TOE, it could well be something we have stumbled over  and not rather worked out through hypothetico-deductive and inductive reasoning/imagination. It not only takes faith and the evaluative aspect of the human knowledge manifold to believe a TOE might be found. Those epistemic faculties would also necessarily be involved in the recognition that it had indeed been  found. 91)        To the extent that I may have had an agenda (transparent, I hope), and to the extent that agenda has been somewhat of an apologetic invoking various (and sometimes substantial)degrees of epistemological parity between the world's great, extant weltanschauungs, I am willing (and, in fact, pleased)  to argue this point in favor of your conclusion. In that case, perhaps I have been concerning myself with epistemological strawmen or shadowboxing with the  philosophical ghosts of yesteryear, who advocated logical positivism, radical empiricism, hyper-rationalism, scientism and such or who countered these with fideism, radical religious fundamentalism and such, such advocacies and counteradvocacies being the obverse sides of the same coin of the realm of epistemological hubris. As you are aware, neither do I countenance an excessive epistemological humility. 92)        Perhaps we can say that for me to make such points on the IRASnet or MetaNexus would be a preaching to the choir, for the most part, and that no discipline has adopted that usage in a long time. In that case, I agree that I might have drawn an unnecessary distinction. Perhaps we can also suggest, however, that not everyone, perhaps even most (the un-disciplined), have been successfully evangelized and that our task is not done, our work is otherwise unfinished, and the distinction for that audience thus remains pertinent? 93)        Theology (forgiving the erstwhile - I hope - extreme scholastic realism) employed what were known as the scholastic notations. Seminarians were taught to place, in the margin of their notebooks, little notes indicating whether a proposition was: 1) impossible 2) possible 3) improbable 4) implausible 5) uncertain 6) plausible 7) probable 8) certain. Lately, in the modal logic of a) the possible b) the actual and c) the necessary, the latter has been amended to the probable, by some. 94)        The distinction I'd offer here is something like Hume makes re: skepticism and induction. It is the distinction between the theoretical and the practical. Even if a TOE is beyond our grasp strictly theoretically speaking, all TOEs being fatally flawed in principle, still, from a practical perspective, I think it is fair to say that we may be able to justify our belief in a TOE, someday, in a universally compelling manner. Does this undermine my assertions re:  Godel? I would say that I meant that it is possible my assertions could be undermined. How plausible or probable? 95)        Since I am working on another project re: Criteria for Articulating a TOE, I used Michael's evocative query as a springboard in constructing my epistemological preamble to that project. Below is my original response, which I then edited and sent along just now as a much shorter version. I think TOE discussions are central to the dialogue between science and religion. However, they are notoriously difficult to air out on listserv forums because too much renormalization is required to translate all hermeneutics into a single lingua franca with logically compatible concepts and axioms. With that caveat, here it is for the few who may be interested. 96)        To the extent that I may have had an agenda (transparent, I hope), and to the extent that agenda has been somewhat of an apologetic invoking various (and sometimes substantial) degrees of epistemological parity between the world's great, extant weltanschauungs, I am willing (and, in fact, pleased)  to argue this point in favor of your conclusion. In that case, perhaps I have been concerning myself with epistemological strawmen or shadowboxing with the  philosophical ghosts of yesteryear, who advocated logical positivism, radical empiricism, hyper-rationalism, scientism and such or who countered these with fideism, radical religious fundamentalism and such, such advocacies and counteradvocacies being the obverse sides of the same coin of the realm of epistemological hubris. As you are aware, neither do I countenance an excessive epistemological humility.  97)        Theology (forgiving the erstwhile - I hope - extreme scholastic realism) employed what were known as the scholastic notations. Seminarians were taught to place, in the margin of their notebooks, little notes indicating whether a proposition was: 1) impossible 2) possible 3) improbable 4) implausible 5) uncertain 6) plausible 7) probable 8) certain. Lately, in the modal logic of a) the possible b) the actual and c) the necessary, the latter has been amended to the probable. In semiotic logic, the application of first principles has been nuanced such that excluded middle and noncontradiction hold or fold based on modal categories under consideration (for the possible, NC folds but EM holds; for the actual, NC & EM hold; for the probable, NC holds but EM folds). Such modal logic reflects ontological vagueness. Such semiotic logic reflects semantical or epistemological vagueness. Alas, these are oversimplifications, but they fit your thesis (and mine). 98)        Of course, a TOE would be, at best, consistent but incomplete. That it would thus not be absolute follows from any Godel-like implications (arguably even directly from Godel). It then follows that, having no recourse to apodictic proof, we are thrown back on the resources of our evaluative continuum as it works in conjunction with the other aspects of the human knowledge manifold (sensation, perception, cognition, rational continuum, etc), normatively guiding and regulating and largely capacitating them. It thus qualifies my godelian assertions only in the sense that such constraints are not overcome by JOTS (jumping outside the system, as some cavalierly suggest) to the extent that we are forever chasing the axioms for our axioms but are overcome by JOTS to the extent that we accept all attempts to justify a TOE as fatally flawed from a theoretical perspective but not necessarily from a practical perspective. The godelian-like implications, though not couched in this manner, are well-inventoried by Suber in his The Problem with Beginning. 99)        So, what constitutes very persuasive? Is it not an issue of justification? And you have properly gathered my whole thrust regarding the epistemological parity of many of our extant alternate worldviews: they all fallback on justification attempts. And this brings us to the issue of epistemic virtue

and vice and how humankind might best define same as a community of inquiry, whose foci of concern variously overlap or not and do so with great existential import and tremendous implications for the therapies we devise for what ails us. Finally, we can arbitrate between the worldviews once we have established a consensus on epistemic norms, but, if we had those in place, even now, we don't have enough info to apply them to everyone's complete  satisfaction. (However, let's not forget that many are ALREADY and not, rather, Almost Persuaded, as it is re: their worldviews).  100)      Alas, this brings us back, full circle, to the question of whether or not it is just too early to tell how a universally compelling TOE might unfold or whether or not we will ever truly unweave the rainbow and all of its antecedent causes, theoretically or practically. The following constitutes a longer response  to an above-question. 101)      The art of epistemological nuance, as I imbibed it from Mother's knee, albeit as an unconscious competent, was handed down to me, not from the long traditions of thomism and scotism (which well articulated same), but, from the longer tradition of patristic theology (including dionysian mysticism  and other neoplatonic influences, which would inform our aristotelian perspectives). My present intuition, which I cannot substantiate but will investigate further (some day), is that my epistemological heritage goes back past the early church fathers, even, to the mytho-poetic-practical mindset of the semitic imagination circa Hebrew Testament days. Let me elaborate.  102)      As one looks at the human knowledge manifold, from sensation & perception, emotion & motivation, learning & memory, imagination & intuition, inference & deliberation, from instinctive to affective to cognitive, from nonrational to prerational to rational to suprarational, from noninferential to preinferential to inferential to postinferential, or any way one prefers to dice it and slice it, I suppose it is not entirely clear, anthropologically, how and when different peoples integrally deployed these different aspects. For example, suppose we assume that some of these aspects constitute what we might call the  evaluative continuum of the human knowledge manifold, while others moreso represent the rational continuum (all of which is tightly integrated). 103)      Another correspondent has argued with me over whether or not the early semitic imagination employed any type of inference (more commonly known as abduction, induction, deduction & transduction). My guess was that surely it did and that the proper distinction between the semitic and hellenistic mindsets, let's say ca. when the Christian tradition was in formation, would not be the latter's employment of inference but, rather, the hellenistic employment  of formal/abstract inference in addition to any informal/concrete inference. Inference, not otherwise distinguished, is simply abduction, induction and  deduction. To say that the mytho-poetic-practical mindset did not use humanity's full cognitive capacities, which I do think is possible, maybe even plausible, is not to say that it did not engage the inferential aspects of the human knowledge manifold. Rather, one is suggesting that, perhaps, it did not develop formal operational abilities. It undoubtedly would have developed transductive, inductive and deductive reasoning and would even have thought abductively about such things as coordinated action. Still, such reasoning, if concretely operational and not formally operational, would not employ the hypothetico-deductive or scientific-inductive reasoning that requires both a more robust abductive facility as well as abstract conceptual abilities. 104)      Now, one might also say that many of the hellenistic mindset did not use humanity's full human knowledge manifold either insofar as many overemphasized, to a fault, the employment of the rational continuum without acknowledging the role of the evaluative continuum. (I have a friend who mourns the day Athens met Jerusalem). All that said, there was apparently a gravitation toward inductive inference in the semitic and deductive in the hellenistic. 105)      We discussed previously that not all logic is binary, that some is fuzzy and contextual-relational, that we seek symmetry and patterns. The Hebrew literature is replete with concrete inductive and deductive inference. It gifts us with a heightened awareness of patterns in creation, for instance. The genius of the mytho-poetic-practical mind renders such inference wisdom and not merely reason. That genius embodies everything that gives the peircean perspective some of its advantage (while it also has its disadvantages) over the classical philosophical traditions insofar as it is concrete, dynamic, wholistic and  relational over against abstract, static, dualistic and ontological (iow, escapes essentialism, nominalism, substantialism, dualism). 106)      It is Our Story (hence the impetus behind Everybody's Story) that unifies and gives value to our experience, so we do not want to ignore this indispensable unifying element of the evaluative continuum and concrete inferences (and faith, iow) even as we do (and must) transcend the mythical-literal aspect. We must proactively engage affective judgment and imaginative-intuitive thinking integrally, holistically, in conjunction with inferential thinking (whether concretely or abstractly) for optimal inferential performance is my view. (Scientists with keen aesthetic sensibilities have an advantage?) Abstract, formal inferential thinking, including the hypothetico-deductive and scientific-inductive, of the formal operational stage of cognitive development, is a morally neutral activity, which can assist virtue or vice, which can become a fetish, but so can any other aspect of the human knowledge manifold (evaluative and rational continuua) that asserts its autonomy and denies any relationality with the other aspects.  107)      There's a lot going on in philosophy that is analogous to what's going on in math (and metamathematics). There is a lot going on in metaphysics that is analogous to what's going on in theoretical physics. In a nutshell, there are a lot of different systems with different axioms and it requires so much careful  predication, high nuancing and disambiguation of concepts before everyone is reading from the same sheet of music that most popular philosophical discussion consists of people talking past one another. Consider the renormalization required in physics as attempts are made at a grand unified theory because the natures of the alternate decriptions (quantum vs field vs gravity and such) are logically and mutually exclusive. Well, something like that is required in metaphysics as we jump back and forth between substance accounts, process accounts, substance-process accounts, participative accounts, semiotic accounts and so on. Each account attempts to eliminate the ambiguity (paradox) in the next account and creates new ambiguities of its own. Everytime a philosopher or metaphysician opens a new hermeneutical window, the axiomatic backdraft shuts another epistemological door. Any attempt to halt an infinite regress seems to introduce some type of causal disjunction. Any attempt at self-consistency introduces circular-referentiality. Attempts to banish such tautologies introduce stipulated beginning (ipse dixit) and question begging (petitio) fallacies. Our justification attempts can also fallback on the resources of faith and noncognitive strategies. Paradox is inescapable. There is no consistent account that is complete. There is no complete account that is consistent. These accounts necessarily utilize some terms univocally and others equivocally. The equivocal can be either simply equivocal or analogical. The analogical can be attributive (if real causes and effects are invoked) or proportional (if we are invoking similarities in the relationships between two different pairs of terms). If such an similarity is essential to those terms we have a proper proportinality but if it is accidental we have an improper proportionality, a metaphor. And we use a lot of metaphors, even if physics, and they all eventually collapse. 108)      These accounts are not Nature, so the godelian constraints and godelian-like constraints and attendant justification problems don't apply to Nature per se but only to our attempts to describe nature, which are abstractions. Maybe the clarification we seek is located in the distinction between a TOE as it might exist in some platonic heaven and one as might be abstracted by an earthly abstractor. I cannot conceive of how the latter would even be possible using human inferential capacities to the extent a TOE is predicated as a metaphysic and with all metaphysics being pregnant with some form of paradox (some multiple birthing and more fecund than others), all meta-accounts being fatally flawed (some more morbid than others). If you distinguish this earthlyabstracted TOE from one existing in a platonic heaven and perceivable from a putative-God's eye view by some being univocally predicated as a Consistent Comprehendor, then Godel would certainly not be lurking and neither would anyone else for who could afford to pay that kind of epistemological rent?  109)      But for reasons we both stated before, not even much depending on how one predicates a TOE, I don't see it as either a theoretical or practical concern except as might belong to One predicated, in part, as Primal Ground. [Consistent Comprehendor has been one of my univocal predications of a hypothetical deity, in fact. 110)      I've been giving this much thought of late, especially while reading Merton but also while contemplating "contemplation" and epistemology and such related issues, in general. Increasingly, I feel the need to make the following distinction. Whether in ascetical or mystical theology, formative spirituality or developmental psychology, all as integrally considered, when one employs the term "simple" or related notions like "simplicity," one must be clear as to whether one really means "simple versus complex" or, rather, "simple versus difficult".Very often, spiritual writers have spoken of simplicity both with respect to prayer and with respect to certain asceticisms, disciplines and practices that help to dispose one to prayer, cultivating solitude and nurturing a contemplative outlook. Increasingly, it seems to me that such simplicity is moreso of the "simple versus difficult" variety, which is to say that we are talking in terms of ease and facility [Webster's 9th definition, below] and not so much of any lack of complexity [Webster's 5th definition]. 111)      If contemplation is simple, then I would say that it is simple in the sense that, for the contemplative, prayer is facile, easy, readily performed. It is not difficult for the proficient. So it is with most any art, whether pertaining to dance or music or athleticism. So it is with many of life's tasks, whether riding a bike or driving a standard automobile, or performing one's trade as an accomplished technician.

112)      The underlying deployment of the various aspects of the human evaluative continuum --- from awareness, sensation & perception, emotion & motivation, learning & memory, imagination & intuition, inference & deliberation --- wholistically & integrally employing our instinctive, affective and cognitive faculties, is clearly complex and not at all "simple" in the sense of being "uncomplicated" or "artless" or such. 113)      Developmentally speaking, there are no shortcuts to such simplicity, to such artform, to such technical competence, to such proficiency. Preparation through catechesis, ongoing cultivation through liturgy and lectio divina, fidelity to law and code both obligationally and aspirationally, and commitment to community, all contribute, integrally, toward properly disposing one for higher gifts. 114)      Now, it is true enough that the Holy Spirit gifts us with charisms that exceed our natural talents and with infused prayer that can be received only as gift and that there is a simplicity in such grace that transcends our human categories of simple vs difficult, simple vs complex. What I speak of, here, are all of the natural and normal preparations we make, no less cooperating with grace, such preparations and practices being quite complex when you think about them, psychologically and epistemologically, even as they are progressively done with great facility and simplicity, iow, proficiency, through time and dutiful practice. 115)      In this sense, contemplation might best be equated with the total offering [perhaps, Webster's 8th definition] of our entire selves, the total oblation of our entire lives, the total disposal of our human evaluative continuum, to God. And this offering is wholly, holy whole. 116)      And this offering is progressively easier, more facile, more simple --- even as it is one of the most complex maneuvers, complicated dance steps, a human will ever perform. It starts off simple but gets increasingly complex. It starts off difficult but gets progressively simple (facile). 117)      Main Entry: 1sim·ple  Pronunciation: 'sim-p&l Function: adjective Etymology: Middle English, from Old French, plain, uncomplicated, artless, from Latin simplus, simplex, literally, single 5 a : SHEER, UNMIXED <simple honesty> b : free of secondary complications <a simple vitamin deficiency> c (1) : having only one main clause and no subordinate clauses <a simple sentence> (2) of a subject or predicate : having no modifiers, complements, or objects d : constituting a basic element : FUNDAMENTAL e : not made up of many like units <a simple eye>`8 : not limited or restricted : UNCONDITIONAL <a simple obligation>9 : readily understood or performed <simple directions> <the adjustment was simple to make>synonym see in addition EASY 118)      Another angle. Recall the distinctions Washburn made vis a vis Wilber and the pre-trans fallacies.I built upon these such that, ontologically, we distinguish between 1) (meta)physical structures, 2) developmental stages and 3) phenomenal states, while, epistemologically, we distinguish between 1) our environing reality (including ultimate reality), 2) the environed reality (of the human evaluative continuum) and 3) our foci of concern (recall Helminiak). 119)      In terms of simplicity, then, for the proficient on the spiritual journey, what is going on in one's physical structure (psychologically & spiritually, integrally & holistically), where one is re: developmental stages, how the environed reality interacts with the environing reality with ever expanded foci of concern --- all of this is increasingly complex. There is FAR more going on, epistemologically and ontologically, with the proficient than there is going on for the novice. If the phenomenal state seems to be rather quiet, this is only because of the smooth, proficiency and well-practiced facility of these advanced parts of the journey. A proficient shifting gears and working the clutch IS going to be QUIETER than a beginner, who is learning to drive the spiritual motorcar. This is due to a simplicity born of facility and not from a lack of complexity. 120)      I think it has been a failure to make this distinction that has led folks down the paths of error such as quietism, fideism and such, denigrating various faculties of human knowledge, wrongly deemphasizing various aspects of the human knowledge manifold, whether the evaluative and/or rational continuum. 121)      The trick is not to confuse the distinctions we draw between the instinctive and the affective and the cognitive for dichotomies, which is to say that, in order to be authentically human, we employ all of these faculties, in some meausre, all of the time. There is an inauthenticity, a denial of our own humanity, in being rationalistic (only the head) or fideistic/pietistic (only the heart). The point is that there is no superiority in the sense that anyone can be an authentic  human, even as we note that it takes some doing. Theresa, the Little Flower, is a Doctor of the Church, so certainly underwent an intellectual conversion in addition to any affective, moral, social and religious conversions.  She may not have led with her intellect, let's say, the way her fellow Carmelite John of the  Cross did, but she did not interfere with its being transvalued by her other conversion experiences. Wisdom results. Authenticity is an "accomplishment" of wholeness and intellectual conversion is not to be mistaken for academic learning, alone. If we first follow Lonergan's imperatives to be attent, intelligent, reasonable and so forth, very much matters of the will, too, it'll take care of itself in the "simplest" of souls. 122)      This is not unrelated to Occam's Razor and the Law of Parsimony, eh? And Charles Sanders Peirce suggests that it is the facility with which we come up with an hypothesis and not the lack of complexity in same that parsimony should measure. As far as priesthoods and power-hoarding, or clericalism, although that happens we do not want to commit the fallacy of misuse, which argues against something that is otherwise good and which should only be used properly. Arrogance can be a two way street -- one side arrogating and asserting it has the answers and is here to help and the other side arrogating and saying it has the answers and needs no help. Alas, good storytelling (homiletics) seems to be the best way to reach all audiences. 123)      .I would agree and qualify that one can, as a proficient, afford to just look because the look-er's entire evaluative continuum has been so very well prepared (cultivated, disposed, trained or what have you). Every apophatic moment contains, for the proficient, all kataphasis, and every kataphatic moment contains all apophasis, too, as one encounters reality with one's entire evaluative continuum integrally and holistically deployed. The simplicity is real insofar as an organic whole is in operation and is not otherwise fractured. If the phenomenal state of the contemplative soul resembles that of one who has merely paused between sensation and abstraction, that is a superficial resemblance because the developmental stages and underlying structures could be quite different (formed, for instance, by catechesis, liturgy, lectio divina, moral development, etc a la lonerganian conversions). Of course, it does occur to me that Maritain has already done this work of drawing such distinctions between philosophical contemplation, connaturality, intuition of being, natural mysticism and mystical contemplation, etc And, of course, there are all of the problems about the use of the term contemplation in the first place, such as acquired vs infused, etc But I am just toying with what we mean and do not mean by simple. The non-reflective aspect is important --- whether driving a car, playing a guitar, dancing a ballet or praying. All proficiency seems to move toward simplicty a la facility and ease. I do not think I'll be playing Classical Gas tonight, though, on my guitar, no matter how simple it is for Mason Williams!

 see http://bellsouthpwp.net/p/e/per-ardua-ad-astra/architectonic.htm

 
A note re: unitive consciousness   We do not equate mere unitive consciousness (simple awareness, simple seeing) with Christian contemplation, although I believe this form of contemplation can indeed enhance and enrich same if we allow it to dwell within us, influencing and interpenetrating our other contemplative approaches to God.   If by "unitive consciousness" one refers to a nondual state of awareness or an experience of absolute unitary being, then I would say, yes, there, one is simply aware, simply seeing. This would be a natural mysticism (Maritain's mysticism of the self, even Zen) engendered by a metaphilosophical contemplation, which is distinct from the intuition of being engendered by a philosophical, metaphysical contemplation. The latter is a mystical experience of the supernatural order for it knows God (through creation, through concepts and through the intuition of being). The former is not.   There is another mystical experience of the supernatural order, Maritain's mystical contemplation, which comes from an affective connaturality, which also knows God. He writes: "Christian contemplation is the fruit of the gift of Wisdom; and this gift although a habitus of the intelligence... depends essentially on charity, and consequently on sanctifying grace, and causes us to know God by a sort of connaturality - in an affective, experimental and obscure manner, because superior to every concept and image."   Contrastingly, natural mysticism proceeds from an intellectual connaturality, albeit it is supra- or para-conceptual. Arraj writes: "This is a metaphilosophical contemplation that reverses rather than continues the normal direction of philosophical contemplation by achieving its knowledge at the price of the elimination of all concepts."

  Hence, this natural mysticism of unitive consciousness is existential and not theological; it has encountered an absoluteness of esse but not as distinguishable from Ipsum Esse Subsistens.   As Maritain writes: "And how could this experience, being purely negative, distinguish one absolute from the other? Inasmuch as it is a purely negative experience, it neither confuses nor distinguishes them. And since therein is attained no content in the ‘essential’ order, no quid, it is comprehensible that philosophic thought, reflecting upon such an experience, fatally runs the danger of identifying in some measure one absolute with the other, that absolute which is the mirror and that which is perceived in the mirror. The same word ‘atman’ designates the human Self and the supreme Self."   Arraj amplifies: "In short, the very powerful yet obscure experience of our own existence can become the doorway through which we can pursue, not the path of essence, but that of existence to the very bedrock of the human spirit which is our very existence as it comes forth from the source of existence. But this existence is known through the medium of emptiness so that there is no way to distinguish the existence of the soul, the existence of all created things and the existence which is God."   There is all the difference between journeying without concepts and journeying, for a moment, beyond concepts with an affective connaturality.   Of course, although distinct, both philosophical and mystical contemplation as well as natural mysticism can be united in many different ways in all of us sojourners. This would all be consistent with Merton’s distinctions between the existential and theological, natural and supernatural, apophatic and kataphatic, impersonal and personal in Eastern vs Christian mysticism. Finally, I look forward to exploring some of the correspondence between Merton and Maritain, especially re: the notion of masked contemplation in more active people.   Notes on Alejandro Garcia-Rivera’s: A Wounded Innocence ---- mixed with my own and others words

 
What would happen if we took the visual seriously in theology?

 
the measure of the woundedness of language

 
if language and the brain co-evolved in our species, the symbolic species per Terry Deacon, and if nonalgorithmic information processing is the je ne sais quois of human rationality, and if we share with the rest of creation a radical finitude, then, whatever it has been in humanity's history, whether in terms of our finitude or in our willful failure to cooperate in community, that wounded our nascent, innocent language,

 
a new humanism can bring the theological and historical, the spiritual and artistic, the textbook and the living, together (cf WI pg. 122)

 
This is reminiscent of what is distinctive in Augustine's epistemology: to know God certainly entails mastery of information, but it also entails personal contact. (cf A.N. Williams, "Contemplation," __Knowing the Triune God__ edited by Buckley & Yeago, pg. 122)?

 
It also seems to echo F.J. van Beeck: "Even though theology, as instanced by Aquinas and Rahner, has traditionally opened the systematic exposition of the Christian faith by an analysis of natural religious knowledge, this has never served to deny that the Christian faith is epistemologically prior. (cf. __God Encountered__ pp 139)"

 
And this seems to be true in any scientia? that the supra-rational, nonrational and pre-rational are necesarily epistemologically prior to the rational, being, as they are, integral to the human knowledge manifold ensemble.

 
This is a nonfoundational epistemic suite, an ensemble vouching of each rationality for all the others, so to speak, trans-rationally. It is elevated by the grace of transmuted experience and realized in Lonergan's conversions.

 
As such, this "[c]ontemplation [of wounded innocence] is neither the statement of a set of postulates discovered by the assiduous effort of the human mind, nor some sort of doctrinally denuded reverie (Williams pg. 144)" and the "contemplative character of [this] theology [of living aesthetics] points to not only a disciplinary, but an existential unity. Just as the contemplation that is theology cannot be separated from the contemplation that is prayer, so an authentically Christian existence consists in a unity, in virtue of which this life is inseparably wedded to the next. (Williams pg. 147)

 
If the history of philosophy is bound up with the story of human language, then the history of theology will, in part, necessarily mirror the impaling of our authentic humanity by the twin-edged swords of various age-old distinctions turned dichotomies: physics and metaphysics, being and nonbeing, real and ideal, rational and empirical, icon and index. It is not that there were not epistemological shouts along the way, plaintive warnings to "step back" and avoid these sundering blades by Plotinus, pseudo-Dionysius, John Duns Scotus, John of St. Thomas and others?

 
And if the history of philosophy follows the history of languages, both pre-modern and modern, from the Greek to the Latin to the Continental, then it may be less of a surprise that the post-modern would find a robust expression in America, which, with its language-transcendent global perspective, as gifted by its cultural-linguistic melting pot, would produce pragmatism (as therapy). To wit: "And because the intellectualism that James deplored has done at least as much damage in theology and in philosophy, we can wholeheartedly welcome his insistence that reality is richer than reflection; that it is not by pure reason alone that we can take our bearings and find our way (quite apart from the fact that reason is never as pure, as devoid of passion and particular interest, as its advocates suppose it to be); that quality of feeling is no less important to our wellbeing than quality of argument ... (Nicholas Lash, _Easter in Ordinary__, pg 86)."

 
If a Jamesian pragmatism was indeed therapeutic, the cure may have been worse than the disease: "It is these disjunctive contrasts and, with their aid, the confining of the territory of the personal to the realm of the individual, private feeling and emotion, which renders the Jamesian account at once so seductive and so dangerous. The situation is not lacking in tragic irony. By calling us back from the death-dealing rigidity of institutional order, and from the divisiveness of intellectual debate, to some primordial realm of pure experience in which the individual may "apprehend" himself to "stand in relation" to that "continuum of consciousness" of which we each form part, James sought to secure firm foundations for religious truth, prospects for progress, and a basis for social harmony. And yet, the foundations turn out to be nothing firmer than the fragile optimism of an excited ego entertaining dubious hypotheses concerning the paranormal. (Lash pg. 88)"

 
From the outside of academia looking in, the more I looked at academic philosophy, the less it seemed worthy of my time. Not usually given to succinctness, I was ready to write it all off, taking away only these lessons: that not every distinction is a dichotomy, that different human rationalities often enjoy primacy but seldom autonomy, and, very generally, that when one chooses to go beyond (for instance, the head or heart), it is best not to also go without (again, the heart or head).

 
What everyone seemed to be searching for was "a common ground in which there were no fences," a "familiar field" that "transcended all fences, methodological issues, and all claims." (WI pg. 122).

 
And this search was urgent, for it was nothing less than a stepping back off of the piercing swords of false dichotomies, a stepping back from the essentialistic-existential chasm, a mending of every rupture, whether epistemological, ontological, cosmological, teleological, or axiological. And if pragmatism and semiology turned away in somewhat halting, incohate false-starts, pragmaticism and semiotics would soon more fully and effectively prescind. Its lesson has been that, if any vestige of innocence remains, some saving remnant of continuity amongst the manifold and multiform seeming-discontinuities, it has not been located in our philosophies of nature, being, ideas or linguistics, nor has it been found in our various turns, whether historical, subjective, hermeneutical (interpretive), linguistic, critical (praxis) or even to experience, though the latter came the closest.

 
Truest to our radically social human nature, it has been the turn to experience and community which has gifted us, now here, now there, with "paradise regained," evanescent though it may seem, ephemeral thought it may be. For Maritain, our fallen-redeemed humanity realizes the fruits of this continuity of experience via community in "the

simultaneous peace and delight of the mind and the senses" enjoyed as beauty (and through these very senses and intuition).

 
Beauty, then, is the door through which we pass into the vestibule of original innocence. Beauty is the reality experienced as an indubitable continuity between  innocent humanity, fallen humanity, fallen-redeemed humanity, and, anagogically, humanity eschatologically returning to Primal Beauty. The Holy Breath bids the Bride, "Come!" for you are betrothed, this life of yours wedded, inseparably, to the next.

 
Is this credible, especially once considering our brutal inhumanity?

 
"The mark of our humanity lies in works of beauty. That humans are rational may be questioned and violence mainly points out our inhumanity byt there's no doubt that works of art mark that human presence. Indeed, what we find at the origins of humanity are not books of philosophy or murderous bands of savages but artists capable of incredible works of beauty. A gaze at the lines that reveal the bison forms shows something more than intelligence or violence at work. Such lines reveal a disciplined freedom, a gracefulness that is more than the work of a self-conscious mind. They are an epiphany ofthe human soul.  Indeed, these graced curves of the bison reveal a mysterious and  marvelous union of sensibility and creativity that guided a human soul to shape a set of lines that still evoke, even 30,000 years later, a sense of childlike wonder, and yes, beauty. We have labeled these first artists "primitive," suggesting their minds were not as developed as ours. Yet if intelligence is to be measured by its beauty, then these first artists may have been more intelligent than we who live today with little to show by way of the intelligence of beauty." (WI pg. 12)      

Musings Regarding Metaphysics
  I think one of the things that drew me to metaphysics was my curiosity about how everything is connected and what makes it all tick. You ever get in a conversation with a very curious child wherein one question led to the next, then to another and yet another, almost interminably? And they finally took you to the point where you'd say: "Go ask your Mom (or Dad, or teacher)!" or, perhaps: "Go look it up in the encylopedia (or at the library or, nowadays, on the Internet)!" One thing such curiosity led to, in my case, was a passion for pigeonholing, for bookmarking, for categorizing, for organizing ... ... bits of knowledge. How is this related to that? And thus it is the human noosphere has been diced and sliced, whether by internet domains, the Dewey Decimal System or the list of academic disciplines at the local university. If you, in the least, have a fetish for such --- every idea having its place and every idea in its place ---, then you'll really enjoy metaphysics. In other words, if you are an Enneagram 5, doing metaphysics could be as great a weakness as it is a strength All that said, and after so many years, I have made up my own grand schema of things. It doesn't correspond perfectly with others' categories but it works for me --- as far as pigeonholing goes. Why it differs from other schemes is part of metaphysics, itself. (More later, maybe). I group things in a set of pigeonholes that, if they were a spreadsheet or matrix, would have four categories going across the top (the x-axis or horizontally) and four categories going down the side (the y-axis or vertically). This makes for sixteen little mailboxes in which to place various parcels of reality each day (to be read when others are counting sheep or if Letterman is otherwise unappealing that particular night). Across the top, I place: A) Truth B) Beauty C) Goodness D) Love. Down the side, I place: 1) Facts about different parts of reality 2) Rules about different parts of reality 3) Facts & Rules about the whole of reality 4) Human Responses to all of these facts and rules. Of course, I have names for each of my sixteen mailboxes. One might have fun guessing what they are. I'll address them later. For that matter, one might have even more fun constructing their own mailboxes. I hope you have fun and I'll do my best to keep it fun (because, after all, who wants to play Post Office alone?). Best, pax jb

http://www.geocities.com/campmerci/index.html re: the mailboxes Other names for the categories regarding 1) Facts - the descriptive sciences; the positivistic realm; the practical and theoretical and heuristic sciences 2) Rules - the normative sciences; the philosophic realm 3) Facts and Rules about the reality as a whole - metaphysics, ideologies, worldviews, theories of everything; the theistic realm 4) Human Responses - different conversions; the theotic realm So, those categories might roughly correspond to Daniel Helminiak's realms of concern. The other categories in the matrix correspond to the divine attributes: a) truth, b) beauty and c) goodness ... ... and d) love. None of this is hard and fast, but the pigeonholes would thus be:

1) facts a) science b) arts & humanities c) law d) relationships and all of the above, so to speak, broadly conceived 2) rules a) logic b) aesthetics c) ethics d) politics 3) facts & rules - theories of everything a) epistemological b) cosmological & ontological c) axiological d) teleological 4) human responses (Lonergan) a) intellectual conversion b) affective conversion c) moral conversion d) social-political conversion When religion informs our perspective: 3) facts & rules - theistic theories of everything a) creed (doctrine, dogma) b) cult (ritual) c) code (law) d) community A quote from Thomas Merton's Sign of Jonas:

quote: I wish I had gone into my study of theology with something more of the mind of St. Dominic. The thing I lack most is the outstanding Dominican characteristic of sharpness, definiteness, precision in theology. I admit that sometimes their precision is the fruit of oversimplification: but it is good anyway. The sharp contrast between the Dominican colors -- black and white -- is a good symbol of the Dominican mind which likes clear cut divisuions and distinctions.

A day later, in his journal, he wrote: quote: Sana doctrina! What an ideal! Clean and precise thinking --- sweeping the world clean of the dust of heresy and bad theology. I need that sana doctrina and it will not hurt me at all to realize that everyone who loves Truth is, in this world, called upon in some measure to defend it.

So, there are my oversimplifications ... and my measure of defense. pax, jb

http://www.geocities.com/campmerci/index.html Another quote from Thomas Merton: quote: In the short Prologue of St. Thomas Aquinas to his Summa Theologiae is a very beautiful paragraph containing a whole discipline of study: his three points are that students -- beginners, but it applies to all -- are impeded from arriving at truth by 1) the great number of useless questions, arguments and articles 2) the lack of order in the way doctrine is presented 3) repetition which produces confusion and boredom. The Dominicans and Cistercians had at least this in common --- that they wanted to get rid of all non-essentials.

I can best relate to the need for order. I can even relate to the distinction between useless and useful questions and arguments. My biggest mea culpa in sharing my interests in metaphysics has been doing so without being both confusing and boring! I made some snide remark, just today, about Enneagram 2's not setting boundaries and my dear wife, self-described as a flaming 2, promptly pointed out that others of us have our own faults, too! And I readily admitted that one of my chief characteristics was being ... um ... ... uninteresting Thus, aside from my pigeonholing fetish, we'll be leaning heavily on Phil's teaching charism

pax, jb

http://www.geocities.com/campmerci/index.html Still in a preliminary remark mode, there are some general observations one can make regarding the difference(s) the Gospel makes in our vision of reality. First, we might consider what the Good News does NOT address in those realms of the positivistic-descriptive sciences (facts) and philosophic-normative sciences (rules), or even rearding our various metaphysics and theories of everything. It doesn't tell scientists when to use Euclidean geometry or imaginary numbers, or Einsteinian or Newtonian physics, or how to best marry quantum mechanics and special relativity. It doesn't tell philosophers whether to be pragmatists or phenomenologists, platonists or aristoteleans, humean* (see note below) or kantian. It doesn't tell thomists whether to be analytical or transcendentalists, existentialists or personalists. It doesn't recommend thomism over scotism, for that matter. It doesn't tell metaphysicians what to use as a root metaphor, whether substance or process or experience or something else. It doesn't even tell us exactly how to do aesthetics or ethics or politics, how to write literature or practice law. It doesn't recommend socialism over communism over tribalism, democracy over a monarchy, or napoleonic code over common law. The Good News DOES cloak all of reality with purpose, crowning creation in glory and humankind with dignity, affirming that we are precious and honored in God's sight and that His banner over us is love. The Good News does provide the lens of realism in these affirmations of reality. It affirms the cosmos as rational: humankind is intelligent and, furthermore, reality is intelligible. In our epistemologies, whatever they are, we must at the least be realists, which is only to say that we affirm that we really can know reality, however fallibly and partially. In our metaphysics, whatever they are, we must at least be realists, which is to suggest that our cosmologies and ontologies really do describe, however fallibly and partially, our ever-tightening grasp of reality. In our ethics and moralities, we must at the least be realists, which means we affirm that there really are objective laws and norms of behavior, however dynamic, that we can come to understand better and better. Whatever one's scientific or philosophical or metaphysical outlook, the Gospel affirms a critical realism, a metaphysical realism and a moral realism. There is another type of realism, which is more related to the notion of being realistic, that can best be illustrated by the idea of political realism, which is also part of our Gospel tradition. Political realism is realistic in the sense that it recognizes both humankind's finitude and sinfulness. This is to say that, whatever our ideals and values may be, it is to be expected that, notwithstanding our origin and destiny in Love, we will fall short. Our immersion in finitude and sin, both our own and that of others, calls for a certain pastoral sensitivity, in other words, compassion. At the same time, our immersion in grace and mercy calls for a response, too, and a reasonable set of expectations regarding our journey of transformation through ongoing conversion, our responsibility to the Good News. In conclusion, one doesn't really need to know a whole lot about the details of science or philosophy or metaphysics. One needn't be conversant with any of the terms I used to describe the manifold and varied approaches of science and philosophy in the above-paragraph that spoke to the issue of what the Good News does not address (sigh of relief). As a Christian, even without knowing all of the nuances and details of scientific advances and philosophic musing, one can expect that any scientist, philosopher, metaphysician or ethicist, claiming to be rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, will be a realist: epistemologically, metaphysically, morally and politically, because, whatever your stance toward Coca Cola, Jesus is THE REAL THING, what the world needs today! pax, amor et bonum, jb Note: The Gospel does make each of our 16 little hermeneutical mailboxes a holon of sorts, all containing and reflecting the whole of reality in an interaction of truth and beauty and goodness and love. We do, therefore, reject the naturalistic fallacy, the notion that one cannot get from is to ought, from the given to the normative, from the descriptive to the prescriptive, or what have you. So, as for the *humean approach ... well, it's very problematical to me (to put it mildly).

http://www.geocities.com/campmerci/index.html Arguments or apologetics for a Theory of Everything, whether by Hawking or Dawkins, Moses or Reverend Moon, tend to have several, sometimes all, of the following characteristics, which are both descriptive and prescriptive in connotation: deal with reality taken as a whole not formally constructed - not completely formal or formulaic or

mathematical allegorical - use of metanarrative, myth, analogy and/or metaphor to evoke an otherwise appropriate response to ultimate reality anagogical - express elements of hope or desired outcomes moral - make appeals to virtue, whether epistemological, anagogical, moral, socio-political or religious literal - include some literal-historical facts super-reasonable or supra-rational - consistent with logic and reason while going beyond them nonrational and transrational - include aesthetic elements, affective appeals, pragmatic criteria and supra-rational axioms employ unproven axioms appeal to self-evident truth incomplete - lack comprehensive explanatory adequacy; remain somewhat question begging inconsistent - have embedded paradox or terms that are incompatible, incommensurable, mutually occlusive or mutually unintelligible unverifiable - not falsifiable tautological - conclusions are imbedded in premises of argument; employ circular referentiality suffer infinite regress suffer causal disjunction begin in media res implicitly or explicity suggest spiritual imperatives to our existential orientations other miscellaneous characteristics: dualistic - various dualisms monistic pluralistic triadic relational a prioristic essentialistic nominalistic substantialistic materialistic relationalistic absolutistic encratistic - overemphasize speculative and apophatic pietistic - overemphaisize affective and kataphatic quietistic - overemphasize affective and apophatic rationalistic - overemphasize speculative and kataphatic

Further Comments:
 
Especially since the human transformative process is precisely a growth trajectory thingy, we recognize a developmental aspect to our own and others' lives. One could argue that certain so-called delusions are, in fact, developmentally-appropriate for this or that person, or even this or that group of people, similarly situated. Further, not all delusions are created equal and some are more or less benign, others more or less malignant, via a vis being life-enhancing/relationship-enhancing versus life-destroying/relationshipdestroying. It is with much discernment, therefore, that one must choose when to attempt to dispossess another of their delusions and when to simply leave them alone. Reality, itself, takes people on the journey toward truth and away from delusion, sometimes patiently, sometimes cruelly. It is with great circumspection, then, that one might choose to accelerate this (super)natural process. And, indeed, sometimes we are thus called, particularly if we have been gifted the position of being a formative influence on others --- as pastors, parents, teachers, police ... ... friends. Iconoclasm is a morally neutral activity. The way it is engaged is not.

   
And yet I wonder if we are modern-day alchemists, but of a more sophisticated variety. We turn reality into meaning and purpose…or try to.

 
Spoken like a quintessential modern day existentialist. Well done!

 
Of course, not all existentialists are created equal, some being nihilists, others Christians, others whatever. But you, Major Nelson, impress me as more of the Jacques  Maritain flavor, which emphasizes distinctions, while being ever-vigilant about not elevating them all to dichotomies (although some are). For instance, do we give reality its meaning and purpose? Or, do we discover the meaning and purpose that is already there? Why should that be an either-or question? As co-creators and pro-creators, I suspect we do both a LOT of the latter and a little of the former?

 
Whatever one's worldview, some type of faith is an integral aspect of any knowing that we do, this because of our finitude (and sin). We don't approach this part of reality with reason and that part through faith. We grasp all of reality through the lens of faith-grounded reason and experience-grounded faith, the latter having primacy but not enjoying autonomy.

 
The word doubt is not from the realm of positivistic science, which uses the mathematical grammar of true and false, greater and less than and equals. It is from the realm of  relationships, which use the grammar of trust. That is one of the characteristics of TOE's I forgot to list. They include a grammar of trust in addition to those employed by positivistic (mathematical) and philosophic (formal logic) realms. As Kung would say, one has a justified fundamental trust in uncertain reality or a nowhere-anchored, paradoxical trust in uncertain reality. I would maintain 1) that none of our attempts at justification can elude some form of paradox, 2) with Whitehead, that all metaphysics are fatally flawed. I simply further maintain that it is worthwhile, urgently necessary even, to pursue that TOE least pregnant with paradox, that least-morbid metaphysic. This

must be done out of compassion for humankind, for differences in worldviews translates into differences in prescriptions (hence efficacies) for what ails us. And this must be  done toward the end of AMDG, which speaks both to our origin and our destiny, inseparable as they are from our experience of the eternal now.

 
Whether or not one makes sense, I suppose, sometimes, depends on their using proper grammar. In that regard, it is less paradoxical, in my view, to approach ultimate  reality as if it were a personal relationship requiring the grammar of trust, which includes faith and doubt. Others can reliably and profitably practice their positivistic (re: facts) and philosophic (re: rules) life's activities without further attempting to justify their fundamental trust in the grounding of those aspects of uncertain reality, but most of  humanity, down through millenia, finds such an approach neither satisfying nor compelling, not cognitively, not affectively, not morally, not socially and not religiously, which is  to say that they find such a "spirituality" impoverished. That observation does not constitue a proof and is not meant to invoke the consensus gentium fallacy, but it does, in my view, provide an important clue, one worth pursuing as if one's very existence depended on it. There you have the essentially pragmatic justification for our supra- and trans- rational endeavors. Love, then, is our philosopher's stone.

 
pax, amor et bonum jb

  5X5X5  
5 Aspects of Reality

 
1) being 2) truth 3) beauty 4) goodness 5) love

 
5 Areas of Concern with Reality

 
1) positivistic 2) philosophic 3) metaphysical 4) theistic 5) theotic

 
5 Approaches to Reality

 
1) non-rational 2) pre-rational 3) supra-rational 4) rational 5) trans-rational

 
5 Aspects X  5 Areas = 25 Engagements of Reality   Positivistic - facts a) science b) arts & humanities c) law d) relationships e) mysticism

Philosophic - rules a) logic b) aesthetics c) ethics d) politics e) existentialism Metaphysical - theories of everything a) epistemological b) cosmological l c) axiological d) teleological e) ontological   Theistic - theories of everything a) creed (doctrine, dogma) b) cult (ritual) c) code (law) d) community e) natural theology   Theotic - human responses a) intellectual conversion b) affective conversion c) moral conversion d) social-political conversion e) religious conversion

 
25 Engagements X  5 Approaches =     125 Experiences of Reality (partly tongue-in-cheek, inasmuch as the thrust has been that our approach to reality is holistic, integrated, one.)

 
The categories of a) aspects, b) areas of concern, c) approaches, d) engagements and e) experiences provide a heuristic device, a set of disciplinary pigeonholes. In those pigeonholes, one can place much of what has already been fleshed out by philosophers and theologians.   Well, if someone accused you of substantialism or essentialism,

 

you might respond by saying you do not mean to imply that the soul is a separate and static reality with some type of platonistic or dualistic existence, but that your thomistic approach is influenced by an aristotelian perspective, which is more holistic. In other words, the body, soul and spirit not being separate entities but just different aspects of the same thing. Further, if your perspective was, for example, largely informed by Jim Arraj, you could point out that your take on form and formal causation is like CHAPTER 13: NONLOCALITY, MORPHIC RESONANCE, SYNCHRONICITY AND FORMAL CAUSALITY] which is to say: quote: Both science and a Thomist philosophy of nature are converging to give us another view of the universe. The old mechanistic view of a world in which innumerable separate objects occasionally interact is giving way to an ever deepening sense of the unity of the universe that has often been hidden from our view. The ultimate mystery of matter is the mystery of that unity. Whether it is Bohm talking about the quantum potential, or Sheldrake speaking of morphic fields and their resonance, or Jung pondering meaningful coincidences and acausal orderedness, or Thomas Aquinas on matter and form, we are faced with a much more cohesive and dynamic view of matter. The objects that fall under our senses are but the visible presences of much wider and deeper formal fields. Jim Arraj

The use of the term fields has the markings of some sympathy for the more dynamic, process approaches. Some actually combine their approaches and call them substance-process. Some argue that retaining the aristotelian concepts is unnecessary metaphysical baggage and move to pure process, employing metaphors of experience, for example, see Whitehead. However, going in the process direction too far exposes one to nominalism, which is quote: the doctrine that there is no objective meaning to the words we use — words and concepts don't pick out any actual objects or universal aspects of reality, they are simply conventional symbols or names that we happen to use for our own convenience. This flies too much in the face of our common sensical experience of reality, for instance, such an experience as communicating with one another as distinct, however social, entities. Reality becomes one unitary organism and our autonomous existence gets lost. The reality of the process of experience is overemphasized while the actual content is ignored. Nominalism creeps in especially in those process approaches that employ the dipolar concepts of reality we mentioned earlier. Without very high nuance, what some folks intend as panentheism becomes indistinguishable, for all practical purposes, from pantheism. So, the fact that any unnuanced essentialism or nominalism, the former often accompanying dualistic metaphysics, the latter, materialist monism, is going to run into various conundrums, introducing concepts that are mutually occlusive or incompatible or contradictory, has steered some folks away from both substance and process metaphysics. This is where the semiotic grammar I mentioned before comes in: quote: Following Charles S. Peirce, Gelpi proposes as a much more adequate model a triadic notion of experience. In this construct there are three "irreducible variables": evaluations, which correspond to possibilities (Peirce's "firstness"); actions, which correspond to facts, to concreteness (Peirce's "secondness"); and tendencies, which correspond to habits or generalities, but not to universal essences (Peirce's "thirdness). In his book, Gelpi critiques several key theological movements on the basis of their faulty concepts of experience and the flaws these induce, and demonstrates how this triadic account provides the remedy.

In Review of The Gracing of Human Experience: Rethinking the Relationship Between Nature and Grace, except for the typos calling Gelpi --- Delpi, Patricia O'DONNELL SSJ goes into more depth re: Gelpi's approach. She has a distinctly johnboysianesque paragraph therein: quote: The book is divided into three major parts. The first part focuses on the fallacies that Gelpi is concerned to avoid: essentialism, dualism, nominalism, rationalism, and the extremes of optimism and pessimism. He finds these fallacies in the work of theologically influential thinkers of the past, including Plato, the Stoics, Aristotle, the Gnostics, the Jewish apocalyptics, Augustine, Aquinas, the Reformation theologians, Kant, Whitehead, and Schillebeeckx. At the root of all these fallacies is a priorism, which is unable to distinguish the formulation of an hypothesis from its verification. Gelpi proposes the relational, triadic, and social metaphysics of Charles Sanders Peirce as a way to escape this a priorism.

On one hand, these "charges" of "fallacies" would constitute a sweeping generalization if applied to all substance and process approaches because, as I pointed out earlier, these approaches are much more highly nuanced nowadays, for example, such as when Jim speaks of deep and dynamic formal "fields." OTOH, because when any substance, or process, or substance-process metaphor is extrapolated out, it will collapse, employing increasingly mutually unintelligble and thoroughly ambiguous terms for reality. For example, a lot of theodicy issues, in my view, come about from a lack of rigor in predicating the terms we use regarding the realities of God and creatures. Thomism approaches the problem this way: quote: Univocity of God language: it is possible to say the same thing in the same way about both God and the world Equivocity Equivocity of God language: there is no relation between the sense in which something is said of God and the same thing is said of the world Analogy of God language: what is said of God is analogous to what may be said of the world

That is all well and good but to the extent that our apophatic descriptions of what God is not begin to so distance the reality of God from creaturely reality, invoking the weakest of analogies in metaphorical language, there is a question left begging as to how a reality so dislike another reality in both form and substance (per the aristotelian-thomistic framework) can be causally linked or have any efficacious effect on same. The chain of causation is effectively broken; physical causal closure is violated or becomes unintelligible; our stipulations of God being some primal cause that really can have an effect even if we cannot say how based on classical notions of causality become mere tautologies; the conclusions that flow from them are necessary only by virtue of an a priori definition, which has a logical form but no empirical basis. So, there is much appeal for the semiotic approach insofar as it prescinds from the substance and process approaches and thus eludes their inescapable fallacies, such as causal disjunction, which I just discussed re: the former, such as the nominalism, which I discussed re: the latter. This approach avoids those fallacies by avoiding the conceptualizations employed in those metaphors. It resonates somewhat with what we might call nonenergetic causation of formal realities (the causal disjunction, violation of physical causal closure conundrum) by investing efficient causality of a sort in the objective reality of our concepts, thus avoiding nominalism. Ideas, neither physical nor nonphysical, are efficacious and clearly exhibit causation, as possibilities mediated by probabilities become actualities in terms of signs, symbols, syntax, semantics --- all which captures both meaning (content) and process. This is just a heuristic device, a grammar, to describe reality without claiming any a priori knowledge or exhaustive explanatory adequacy. In this way, it is sort of phenomenological, which is to say it sets forth patterns of what appears to be going on without necessarily grounding how those patterns come about or where all of these habits and probabilities we see reality exhibiting originate. This approach has great utility in quantum physics. The following is kind of dense, but in Benedict M. Ashley, O. P's review of Deely's 4 Ages of Understanding, perhaps one can sense this mutually occlusive, unintelligible dichotomy that substance and process metaphysics encounter in one another. Either we get the kantian, nominalist perspective that what we call causes are mental projections and the humean notion that causes are not empirically knowable or we get the inescapable dead-ends of thomism as all metaphysics is reduced to esse (being) and gets tangled in tautological obfuscation with the application of analogy to causation. In semiotics, some signs are mind-dependent and others mind-independent, indisputably so, and so we enjoy a distinction between what we might call the physical reality of actualities and the objective reality of ideas without worrying about the realism-idealism debate of the essentialists and nominalists. quote: What Peirce saw clearly, and Poinsot had in Scholastic terms anticipated, was the triadic relational nature of the sign. A sign is not simply something by mediation of which something else is known, a dyadic relation of sign and signified, but a triadic relation between first an object known A (the sign), another object known through the

first object (the terminating object) C, and what Peirce called the "interpretant," that is, a third object of knowledge that is precisely the relation of signification between the first two objects, B. For example, a scientist observes that heavy objects fall (A) and infers that they have the property of gravity (C), because he understands this in terms of what in his scientific perspective he knows to be the logical relation of cause to effect (B). This critical or scientific understanding is possible only if the scientist does not confuse the logical relation of inference from effect to cause (which is purely mind-dependent) with the real dependence of effect on cause. If he does not make this distinction he falls either into Hume's empiricist notion that we do not know causal relations or Kant's idealist notion that this relation is a merely mental projection. One has only to look at current quantum theory to see into what puzzles such confusions have plunged modern science. As the Nobel Laureate in Physics Richard Feynman is often quoted as saying, "I think that I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics."

It can be argued that by prescinding from substance and process approaches, Pierce is withdrawing from metaphysics altogether, engaging strictly in philosophical phenomenology. See Is Peirce a Phenomenologist?: quote: there is something prima facie questionable in the idea of incorporating the Peircean philosophy in the phenomenological tradition, and should make it clear that a sceptical view of the appropriateness of doing this would not be unreasonable. Yet, in spite of this, I am inclined to believe that there is a real and sufficient basis for doing this nonetheless. Why? Because of the extraordinary importance which seems to me to attach to the proposition that the philosopher as such properly considers phenomena first of all without commitment to or concern with whatever existential or reality status they (or the objects to which they refer or otherwise signify or represent) may actually have, which means to consider phenomena as phenomenal only ...

So, I do not see the semiotic approach as a replacement for ontological approaches (substance and process) but only as a way to back up and review waht it is we are doing when we claim to be doing physics or metaphysics. quote: Metaphysics has usually followed a very primitive kind of quest. You know how men have always hankered after unlawful magic, and you know what a great part in magic words have always played. If you have his name, or the formula of incantation that binds him, you can control the spirit, genie, afrite, or whatever the power may be. Solomon knew the names of all the spirits, and having their names, he held them subject to his will. So the universe has always appeared to the natural mind as a kind of enigma, of which the key must be sought in the shape of some illuminating or power-bringing word or name. [The traditional rationalistic temperament is for fixed foundations:] That word names the universe's principle, and to possess it is after a fashion to possess the universe itself. 'God,' 'Matter,' 'Reason,' 'the Absolute,' 'Energy ,' are so many solving names. You can rest when you have them. You are at the end of your metaphysical quest. But if you follow the pragmatic method, you cannot look on any such word as closing your quest. You must bring out of each word its practical cash-value, set it at work within the stream of your experience. It appears less as a solution, then, than as a program for more work, and more particularly as an indication of the ways in which existing realities may be changed. What Pragmatism Means

This is a type of pragmatism that does not suggest that, if something is useful, then it is true. It does suggest, however, that if something is true, one of its characteristics will be that it is also useful. So, we can employ usefulness as a criterion in our search for truth, which marches on inexorably, however fallibly. It is merely to ask: What difference will it make if this is true versus that? If there is no difference, pragmatism judges the argument as idle. This is also to say that, just because something is a tautology, it does not mean that it is not the case; it only means we have not added any new information by making our claim. Bottomline is that I have no problem with substance or process approaches, as long as they answer one another's legitimate critiques, as long as they both step back, which is to say, prescind from their metaphysical engagements to a critical phenomenological perspective, like the peircean semiotic grammar. Coming full circle back to original sin, we can prescind then from any notion of a felix culpa or of a wounded form to the root metaphor of a triadic, social relational experience to say that what it is --- is the effect of our finitude plus everyone else's (through all of time) personal sins on us and the effect of our personal sins and finitude on everyone/thing else. Now, whether it turns out that this effect is mediated by a wounded form, an ontological rupture located in the past, or by an unfinished creative process, a teleological chasm oriented toward closure in the future, the former a substance approach, the latter a process approach, or by both, phenomenologically speaking, we no this finitude and our personal sins make a difference and change reality, whatever our root metaphor may be. The doctrine of original sin is rooted in an issue of theodicy: why do we have all of these idealistic notions but never realize them? Where could they have come from in the first place? Why would God create us and then torture us for a nanosecond if SH/e is truth, beauty, goodness, love? Why do we not seem to be injured in knowing what is good to do but are profoundly injured in liking what it is that is good to do (to paraphrase someone re: original sin, like Pascal, but I forget really)? I locate the most significant aspect of any answer, not in locating the rupture between our essentialistic idealizations and their existential realizations but rather in our failure to carefully define, rigorously predicate and highly nuance the terms and definitions we use in our God-concepts. In other words, which concepts are employed with univocity, equivocity or analogically, kataphatically or apophatically? And does this or that element of our metanarrative communicate an historical vs allegorical (creedal) vs moral vs anagogical (orienting our hope) truth, metaphorically or literally? When we say God is good, we really mean: "You know what I mean when I say something is good or someone is good? Well, God is good, but not good in exactly the same way or by exactly the same means, but think of something like that and that is what He is. He is something like that but in many more other ways, at the same time, She is totally and thoroughly and unambiguously UNLIKE that or anything else you have ever or will ever experience." And substitute truth, beauty and love for the word "good" above --- or even "being" or even "cause" and that is what a suitable defintion, rigorous predication and highly nuanced conceptualization of God entails. Our analogies make God intelligible and metaphysics a worthwhile endeavor, although many dispute the truth of natural theology. Nothing we will ever devise in the way of a metaphysic will make God, or even the whole of created reality, fully comprehensible. They are, rather, merely apprehensible. Disambiguate the terms employed in our metaphysics and -- voila --- our theodicy issues get framed up as an unfathomable mystery, part of the incomprehensible Mystery of God. We find it worthwhile to pursue their intelligibility, however. Thus we come up with such ideas as original sin. And these ideas compete with one another for intelligibility, congruence with our life experience and external reality, rationality, internal coherence, logical consistency, hypothetical consonance with the rest of our worldview, etc A lot of people have big problems with any idea of The Fall and I can understand why. I'm not even sure I'd bother too much, myself, with theories of original sin, because once we properly disambiguate the terms we employ for God vs creatures, perhaps we can rest a little and know that all may be well, all can be well, all will be well and we will know that all manner of things shall be well --- not because we have already eaten the whole banana (ahem, apple) but, rather, we have received first fruits, an earnest, a down payment -- and we're willing to leverage it, unconditionally, in support of the notion that God cares (not like we care but different and way better) and the universe is ultimately friendly, even if no one can say how this could possibly be, given so many appearances to the contrary. It is good that the theologians bother with all of this though because what Charles Pierce called the cash-value of our ideas; for our theological anthropology does make a difference in how we respond to reality and one another. Still, that anthropology is only as good as our theology and God-talk is incredibly messy, ambiguous, unnuanced in most discussions.   For general info: A footnote regarding terminology like coherent, congruent, etc When we use these terms, they typically refer to: 1) logical consistency - is an argument fallacy free with terms that are not self-contradictory 2) internal coherence - does everything hold together as we move from one aspect of a position to another 3) interdisciplnary consilience - as we move from one discipline of science, incl theology, to another, do the ideas expressed in a position comfortably dovetail and are we using as many disciplines as possible 4) hypothetical consonance - how does this hypothesis comport with other prevailing hypotheses about similar subject matter

5) external congruence - specifically asks whether or not the positivistic facts incorporated into our metaphysical and theological hypotheses are congruent with what we know from science These are just a few of the criteria one uses before applying what used to be known as the scholastic notations. In the margin of a seminarian's notes, one was encouraged to engage some critical thinking and note whether or not a proposition was: 1) possible 2) plausible 3) probable 4) certain 5) uncertain 6) implausible 7) improbable 8) impossible Since the positivistic-scientific realm cannot yield data, in principle, that would be contrary to revelation, over the centuries, as science advanced, many doctrines have been forced to divest themselves of positivistic elements and to jettison philosophic-metaphysical baggage that was not part of essential revelation. The thornier the scientific problem, of course, the more latitude for wide-ranging speculation of how physical and physiological facts might impact one doctrine or another. Nothing is more integrally related to discussions of human nature than the emergence of consciousness. Since this science is still very new, many philosophies of mind exist, none of which could impact theological speculation, in and of themselves. We do see a lot of folks drawing philosophic and metaphysical and theological conclusions from scientific data and hypotheses, but they are not being scientists when they do this. They are being philosophers, metaphysicians and theologians -- and, too often, not very good ones. What Phil and I have both been decrying is the wily-nily crossing over of these human realms of concern by many scientists, philosophers and theologians without these folks explicitly acknowledging what they are doing, betraying, nonetheless, to anyone paying attention, their own prejuidices and a priori commitments. This is not to suggest that one might not otherwise appear (or in fact) be consistent and coherent and consilient and consonant in their hypothesizing without, at the same time, being adequately externally congruent. Happens all the time. Neither is it to suggest that all external congruence is of the same quality. We have an audience out there of people of very large intelligence and profound goodwill, with no a priori bias toward one metaphysic or another, and they are looking at the facts we use about human consciousness (which however young the science, we do know something about from neuroscience and evolution, fossil records, genome mapping, etc) and they are deliberating over competing accounts looking not just for the possible, but for the plausible, and, one day, as knowledge grows in any given area, the probable and even the certain. In other words, we are closing in, always, just not always as fast as we'd like or as some might think, who have already rushed to closure. When we do, the science will not change anything essentially theological or vice versa. If it appears to, it is only because someone was calling something revelation that was not. All in all, it is better to keep God/de out of physical and metaphysical gaps from the get-go, in principle.

  I develop 14 points below. I begin with #14 and substantiate it in #1 thru #13.   pax, johnboy   14) Finally, all of this is to support the proposition that the Anglican and Roman Catholic communities are substantively in communion. Many of the roots of our divisions are philosophical and metaphysical. That's where many of our divisions lie intra-denominationally, too.   How can that be?   Theology is what we canonize and sanction, not metaphysics and philosophy.   This makes the scandal all the more poignantly sad.   I mean to flesh out these individual divisions through time and to more precisely locate each impasse but the most obvious and tragic culprits seem to be rooted ontologically. For instance, once in accord over the Real Presence in the Eucharist, how can discord regarding transubstantiation be a legitimate stumbling block? Isn't that an accidental vestige of a substance ontology? When was this metaphysic canonized? What about process and semiotic and other approaches? And what's the apologetic against women's ordination but another  physicalistic ontological analysis, just like other narrowly conceived natural law formulations regarding birth control, homosexuality and such? As for priestly celibacy, the over against position is so riddled with practical inconsistencies that metaphysical jesuitry is obviated. Even the issues of primacy and authority are rooted in a neoplatonic commitment to hierarchical schemes, not that our episcopal nature is an issue, only to suggest that we needn't be married to only one positivistic model of governance; this is true at least insofar as the behavioral and political sciences have  much to recommend in the way of democracies and republics, at least where tribalism has given way to cultural melting pots and pluralistic societies. As for any brand of infallibility, what would be the metaphysical grounds for that in a peircean semiotic realism whose leitmotif is  fallibilism? And what happens to the doctrine of the fall as the source of original sin if one drops one's aristotelian formulations for a process metaphysic, such that an ontological rupture located in the past becomes a teleological chasm oriented toward the future?     1) It is important to distinguish between the different horizons of human knowledge:     a) positivistic     b) philosophic     c) metaphysical     d) theistic     e) theotic   2) It is important to distinguish which elements of tradition are rooted in which of these horizons.   3) It is important to discern which elements in which horizons are essential and indispensable, which might be to ask, which belong to Revelation and are closest to the community's experience of Gospel realities, and which are accidental, which might be to suggest, which are re-form-able.    4) This discernment process does not reduce the experience of the community to the essentialistic; it will always be existentially and concretely expressed through humanity's metaphysical, philosophic and positivistic forms. This process, rather, aspires to bring these forms into our community's awareness so we can consciously select forms, models and paradigms that, when employed, will best facilitate the existential  realizations of our essentialistic idealizations. The provenance of these forms is not always easy to determine, because these horizons both  overlap as well as enjoy their own diversity of forms within each horizon.   5) The community's historical and eschatological dimensions require these forms to change. The community's cultural diversity requires a pluralistic approach to form-selection. In principle, then, forms must be dynamic.   6) Each horizon of human knowledge has its own questions to ask of reality, which is to say its own distinct methods and principles of inquiry. As

one expands one's knowledge horizons, new and different questions are being asked and novel methods and principles of inquiry apply. Our community of believers does not sanction the employment of one approach versus another insofar as the communities of inquiry within each horizon, in principle, proceed autonomously in their approach to reality.   7) Proceeding through the horizons, from the positivistic to the theotic, the scope of our inquiries expands. Successive expanded horizons do not,  however, inform the previous and more limited-scope horizons vis a vis their methods, principles or previously-acquired knowledge. It is not so much that they neither contradict nor affirm them as much as they ignore them, in a manner of speaking, dealing with broader concerns. These  successive expanded horizons are in fact constrained by the more limited-scope horizons such that when they do employ their findings they are not at liberty to addend, amend or delete them during the process of incorporating them into this or that meta-paradigm.   8) How, then, can we reconcile theological inquiry, both theistic and theotic, to positivistic, philosophic and metaphysical inquiry, which is to ask  how can faith enjoy epistemological primacy while making no demands of the other horizons of human knowledge? It cannot. At the very least, different types of realism must be presupposed, but that is true for science, too.   9) How far can a rational discursive exploration take us prior to the fruits of special revelation? Well, by analogy, there is a faith we necessarily have in certain first principles, in reality's intelligibility and humankind's intelligence, which is epistemologically prior to what we more narrowly define as rational inquiry. These principles do not formally prove or disprove rationality and no rational argumentation can prove or disprove them. Theology, metaphysics, philosophy and science enjoy the same autonomy and rely on similar pre-philosophical suppositions.   10) The novelty that theology does bring to the table is not essentially descriptive or even prescriptive, however integrally related to those sciences. Theology contributes an evaluative perspective that colors all of cosmic and human history with ultimate purpose and meaning. This is not to suggest that the theological horizon expands the other horizons of human knowledge by introducing purpose and meaning for the first time. It is not  even to suggest, practically speaking, that we could ever exhaust the realizable purpose and meaning that we might have previously encountered  in the pre-theological horizons. It is to affirm, theoretically speaking and in principle, that such realizable meaning and purpose is horizonless, transcends all horizons and is forever inexhaustible.   11) Catholic theology, then, will introduce an evaluative perspective that is robustly Incarnational, affirming a) a divinity kenotically being secularized, b) a creation pro-actively being divinized and c) a theological anthropology that situates all noetical, aesthetical and ethical pursuits in the creed, cult and code of a community of unconditional faith, hope and love. There is no formal demonstration or rational argumentation that can  provide such suppositions but, however otherwise apparently polynomial, the human approach to Truth, Beauty, Goodness and Love is now integrally and holistically one journey.   12) There is no question of whether or not one can go from the given to the normative, the descriptive to the prescriptive, or, as they say, from is to ought. Truth guides our pursuits of beauty and goodness. Beauty guides our quests for truth and goodness. Goodness is a beacon for truth and beauty. Noetically, then, we can turn to virtue epistemology, nonfoundational and foundational approaches in modeling truth. Aesthetically, we can experience both man-made and natural art cognitively, affectively and morally, as it depicts truth and beauty and goodness. Ethically, we can turn to virtue ethics, deontology and teleology, to the natural law and the positivistic, as they all properly inform our thoughts, words and deeds as we analyze the acts, intentions and circumstances of moral objects.   13) And we can look to the history of our community of believers and our community of inquiry with some confidence as we affrim this evaluative heremeneutic. With these epistemological pre-suppositions, we commence our positivistic, philosophic, metaphysical and theological journeys. Implicit to an incarnational outlook, there is a group of premises that must be granted, but they are not so cumbersome as to impede our journeys toward the various horizons of human knowledge. If anything, the history of science attests to their manifold and multiform efficacies in advancing the inexorable advance of human knowledge (cf. Stanley Jaki). Among these premises are the essential dogmas, an analogical imagination, present and eschatological dimensions, principles of subsidiarity and solidarity, the common good, unconditional human dignity, an incarnational perspective, catholicity and pluralism, kenosis, theosis and various realisms: metaphysical, moral and political, pastoral sensitivity and compassion for human finitude & sin, justification and sanctification and such. This doesn't exhaust our pre-positivistic, pre-philosophic, premetaphysical, pre-theological core suppositional commitments but it wouldn't take anything near the length of the typical catechism to set forth this inventory of essentials sans accidentals.   14) Finally, all of this is to support the proposition that the Anglican and Roman Catholic communities are substantively in communion. Many of the roots of our divisions are philosophical and metaphysical. That's where many of our divisions lie intra-denominationally, too. How can that be? Theology is what we canonize and sanction, not metaphysics and philosophy. This makes the scandal all the more poignantly sad. I mean to flesh out these individual divisions through time and to more precisely locate each impasse but the most obvious and tragic culprits seem to be rooted ontologically. For instance, once in accord over the Real Presence in the Eucharist, how can discord regarding transubstantiation be a legitimate stumbling block? Isn't that an accidental vestige of a substance ontology? When was this metaphysic canonized? What about process and semiotic and other approaches? And what's the apologetic against women's ordination but another physicalistic ontological analysis, just like other  narrowly conceived natural law formulations regarding birth control, homosexuality and such? As for priestly celibacy, the over against position is so riddled with practical inconsistencies that metaphysical jesuitry is obviated. Even the issues of primacy and authority are rooted in a neoplatonic commitment to hierarchical schemes, not that our episcopal nature is an issue, only to suggest that we needn't be married to only one positivistic model of governance; at least insofar as the behavioral and political sciences have much to recommend in the way of democracies and republics,  at least where tribalism has given way to cultural melting pots and pluralistic societies. As for any brand of infallibility, what would be the  metaphysical grounds for that in a peircean semiotic realism whose leitmotif is fallibilism? And what happens to the doctrine of the fall as the source of original sin if one drops one's aristotelian formulations for a process metaphysic, such that an ontological rupture located in the past becomes a teleological chasm oriented toward the future?   Still refining:  
I would like to distinguish between the various aspects of human engagement with reality and the different foci of human concern with reality. The aspects of human engagement are:     1) cognitive approach to truth     2) affective approach to beauty     3) moral approach to goodness     4) social approach to love     5) religious approach to the sacred The foci of concern or horizons of engagement are:     1) positivistic - our concern with facts     2) philosophic - our concern with rules     3) meta-theoretical - our concern with facts and rules taken together as a Theory of Everything

    4) transcendental - our concern with discontinuities     5) human responsivity - our ongoing cognitive, affective, moral, social and religious growth processes I describe these foci as horizons because they represent progressively expansive realms of concern, each with its own distinct questions of reality, each with its own distinct principles and methods of inquiry. As one expands one's horizons of engagement, new and different questions are being asked of reality such that novel principles and methods of inquiry apply. Each successive expanded horizon is constrained by the more limited-scope horizons, which is to suggest that, when they do employ the findings of any and all of the preceding horizons, they are not at liberty to addend, amend or delete such findings when incorporating them into such expanded horizons or broadened foci of concern. I should qualify that they cannot take such liberties and still maintain such widely accepted knowledge criteria as external congruence, hypothetical consonance, interdisciplinary consilience, logical consistency and internal coherence, to name a few. The application of the different aspects of human engagement to our various foci of concern then yield an architectonic or organon of 25 different fields of engagement of reality: Positivistic a) science b) arts & humanities c) law d) relationships e) religiosity

Philosophic a) noetics - logic b) aesthetics c) ethics d) politics e) existentialism Meta-theoretical a) epistemological b) cosmological c) axiological d) teleological e) ontological   Transcendental a) truth b) beauty c) goodness d) love e) sacred   Human Responsivity a) intellectual conversion b) affective conversion c) moral conversion d) socio-political conversion e) religious conversion

  
And I see this not simply as a prescription but also as a description of how our species holistically engages reality.

 
re: emergentism, in general, and semiotics, in particular.

 
I view them as heuristic devices and situate them in the positivistic focus, somewhat straddling the philosophic horizon with a phenomenological-type approach, abstracted, so to speak, from our more reductive explanatory endeavors. As with any of the more reductive positivistic hypothesis, the nonreductive emergentist and semiotic perspectives  provide forms, structures, models, paradigms and such, that can be used to concretely express any of humankind's worldviews, including any and all of our transcendental, meta-theoretical and philosophic horizons of engagement with reality.

 
Now, it is precisely because of the novelty that arises on the borders of chaos in the form of dissipative structures that all meta-theorists are confronted with the issue of renormalization. The manifold discontinuities birthed from emergence at play in the cosmos make for some radically distinctive levels of complexity, each with its own logic and conceptual frame, none fully reducible to or translatable from adjacent levels of complexity. Still, I am all for zealously pursuing Theories of Everything, recognizing that intertranslatability between our different theories will remain a formidable challenge for quite some time; take quantum gravity, for example.

 
It does seem, to me, that the greatest promise for resolving such emergence-engendered translatability problems for our meta-theoretical endeavors lies in the grammar of semiotics. If emergence invites us to continue our reductive explanatory attempts while stepping back, now and again, from what Terry has well-identified as genetic, memetic and computational fallacies, for example, in the philosophy of mind, semiotic realism invites us to continue our pluralistic philosophic and meta-theoretical explanatory attempts while stepping back, now and again, from their ever-cascading paradoxes and always-collapsing metaphors. And all are on equal footing, or lack thereof, insofar as our philosophical schools are yet to escape the implosions of tautology, circular-referentiality, causal disjunction and/or infinite regress in their formalizations. We all choose the poison that will slay our meta-systems, for they're all pregnant with paradox and fatally flawed. Our search is for the system least likely to multiple birth and least morbid. Our choice, then, largely guided by aesthetic sensibilities and pragmatic rationalities. The emergentist paradigm and semiotic grammar, though, as mere heuristic devices, largely avoid the fray, but sacrifice explanatory adequacy in favor of discerning patterns phenomenologically. Staying above the philosophical fray is their gift though because not much, quite frankly, is being sacrificed at this very early stage in humankind's formal meta-theorizing. The more pressing and urgent need is to articulate Everybody's Story, so we can begin to sing off the same sheet of music and quit shooting at each other with WMDs, real or imagined.

 
There is a leit motif running through the semiotic perspective that can best be described simply as fallibilism. In some sense, the semiotic dynamic very much seems to be about right signals, wrong signals, missed signals and such and this applies to all semiotic realities. However, I do not like the ambiguity  generated by thinking in terms of right and wrong signification because, well, such is relative, perspectival, from an emergentist perspective.   After reading another, yet unpublished, semiotic account, which addressed what I would call a bridge-building from the physico- to the bio-semiotic, it has now dawned on me that the fallibilistic dynamic might best be described in terms of integrity. What we have, then, is a triadic semiotic dynamic of ongoing  semiotic integration, dis-integration and re-integration.   These integrative structures obey the laws of entropy with their thermo- and morpho-dynamic integrative processes. And, as you noted, these complementary dynamics have an amplifying effect on successive biases. Such amplification will even accelerate in environments that are far from equilibirum. One thing that ends up getting accelerated, despite superficial appearances to the contrary, is entropy itself.   Once the teleo-dynamic process emerges, the triadic semiotic dynamic generates dissipative semiotic structures at an ever-accelerating pace, creative advance taking place, per the whiteheadian trope, only along the borders of chaos.

  Now, I cannot not digress here to insert the aesthetic "teleodynamic" that I gathered long ago from such writers as Prigogine. The greater the number of bifurcations in an emergent and dissipative semiotic structure, which is to say, the greater the number of integrative permutations, the greater, then, will be the number of disintegrative points available to threaten the system.   But "threaten" has that "right" and "wrong" connotation, which I am trying to avoid, so I'd like to say the greater will be the number of disintegrative points available to drive the triadic dynamic of alternating integration, disintegration and reintegration. What we are describing here, of course, is an attribute of our system known as fragility. And what I am driving at is the aesthetic notion of the more fragile, the more beautiful.  Not a novel approach except to suggest that this is pervasively true in a semiotic system.   Our aesthetic sensibilities seem wired for this affective predisposition, no doubt because we sit atop the emergent semiotic heirarchy with both a lot of  precious encoding and a lot of biosemiotic existence hanging in an increasingly precarious balance with less and less room for ecomoralistic error.   True to form vis a vis nonquilibrium thermodynamics, this rapid multiplication of dissipative semiotic structures, now agents, not only amplifies preceding biases and serves entropic processes, but serves to accelerate entropy itself. Locally, we might note that we are clearly hastening and not rather forestalling the heat death of our universe, primarily through our avarice for energy consumption.   Forget, then, the facile accounts of selfish genes and memes and their attendant fallacies. It is entropy itself, through complementary thermo- , morphoand teleo-dynamic processes, that is being encoded, in a spiraling dance of integrative, disintegrative and reintegrative semiotic structures, all amplifying the ineradicable, it seems, entropic bias and fueled by nonequilibrium conditions.   Back to fallibilism. It's the engine of semiotic integrative dynamics. How can it not be a part of any compelling epistemology?   At this point, I am not prescriptively urging any moves but only trying to come to grips with a descriptive account of what seems to be taking place however incohate or nuanced, however implicit or explicit, however articulated or not. Although each expansion of horizon represents new questions being asked of reality, clearly, not all people devote the same amount of energy engaging this vs that focus of concern, however conscious or unawares.  We cannot gain explanatory adequacy by prescinding from our more reductive explanatory foci only to remain in a purely phenomenological perspective.   But we must continue to take this step back, as a friend once put it, looking over our shoulders at our leaps. And it is a discipline we need to engage always.  

The real impetus, for some, in going pansemiotic is the drive to articulate a more compelling ecomorality, driving out the spectre of an unnuanced anthropocentrism. It is a challenge to achieve balance here, however.     I view religion as a cultural entity, grounded in metanarratives celebrating that-things-are and which-things-matter, while sketchily indicating how whichthings-matter emerge.   The dynamic described below can thus be further qualified in terms of the descriptive, prescriptive and evaluative:

The foci of concern or horizons of engagement are:     1) positivistic - our concern with facts  descriptive     2) philosophic - our concern with rules prescriptive     3) meta-theoretical - our concern with facts and rules taken together as a Theory of Everything descriptive & prescriptive     4) transcendental - our concern with discontinuities evaluative     5) human responsivity - our ongoing cognitive, affective, moral, social and religious growth processes interactive   The interpretive sphere and its questions are located in the transcendental-evaluative foucs of human concern beyond the horizons of the positivistic, philosophic and meta-theoretical, beyond the descriptive and prescriptive. This transcendental-evaluative-interpretive sphere influences our narrower foci of concern via human pragmatic rationality (sometimes called evolutionary, ecological or bounded rationality) and basically answers the organismic question: "What's it to ya?".  This pragmatic rationality is distinct from the inferential and deliberative rationalities that operate in our narrower foci, within more limited  horizons. [Note: This is not to wholesale endorse Tillich's view re: religion as merely evaluative. I actually disagree with that. In whatever realm of concern, the human knowledge manifold or evaluative continuum (Gelpi) is wholly and holistically employed - nonrational, pre-rational, supra-rational, rational and trans-rational, descriptively, prescriptively and evaluatively. Sometimes the nature of the reality under consideration calls forth one rationality or another for a "moment" and such rationality may even enjoy a primacy of sorts. Any such primacy notwithstanding, these respective rationalities do not enjoy autonomy one from the other. Rather, they are all brought to bear in all human engagements of reality, however inchoately or robustly. So, to be precise, we do not locate what is religious vs what is scientific in this vs that mode of human knowledge but rather in this versus that realm of human concern.] The provenance of moral and ethical deliberations is philosophic and the operative mode is prescriptive. Religions turn our positivistic and philosophic foci to which-things-matter and urge a prioritization of our moral and ethical deliberations, in terms of ordinacy, evaluating which-things-matter-most. This prioritization gifts humankind with what we might call general moral precepts. In large measure, we enjoy interreligious and interideological consensus re: general moral precepts.   The practical upshot or peircean cash-value of all this? Religions, with their evaluative focus, do not ask specific moral and ethical questions and do not  have principles and methods of inquiry  to answer these philosophical questions. Neither do they ask nor are they equipped to answer positivistic questions,  including the meta-theoretical.   This is not to suggest that the evaluative moment, which enjoys a sort of epistemological primacy over our descriptive and prescriptive moments, makes no  demands on these other horizons of human inquiry. Religions and ideologies do provide (or admit) some very basic premises, some core suppositional  commitments, some essential pre-positivistic and pre-philosophic essentials, that must be granted in order to enjoy some integrity but these are not so cumbersome that they could impede the inexorable advance of knowledge of our larger community of inquiry.   For example, as with science, there must be a commitment to certain types of realism.  Also, there is a certain type of faith that we have in first principles (e.g. noncontradiction), reality's intelligibility, human intelligence, the existence of other minds, common sense notions of causality and such, and that faith is epistemologically prior to what we more narrowly describe as rational inquiry. Pragmatically, faith that impedes rather than enhances rational inquiry

might be considered to have over-reached descriptively and prescriptively. It is not so much that if it is useful it is probably true; rather, it is that if it is true it  is probably useful.   Bottomline: Insofar as they are essentially evaluative, religions cannot credibly invoke a  superior moral authority because they do not possess a privileged positivistic or philosophic perspective, the horizons where moral deliberations emerge.  This is not to suggest a religion cannot affirm, along with its other realisms, a moral realism. Those that subscribe to moral realism must simply recognize the problematic nature of moral deliberation (beyond the most general of precepts) and recognize the fallibilistic nature of all human inquiry. Moral  deliberation is something all communities of believers can contribute to within the context of our wider community of inquiry. And our cultural diversity requires a pluralistic approach, analogous to the way all complexity invites a pluralistic approach due to intractably nontranslatable paradigms. For me, there are several distinctions between the first (positivistic) and second (philosophic) categories, between the facts about reality and the rules.  Keeping it simple, let's deal only with the "aspect" I've labeled "truth."   I. The first category includes our understandings of reality's givens in terms of a) primitives - like space, time, mass and energy; b) forces - like gravity, electromagnetism, weak and strong; and c) laws - like thermodynamics. We proceed through popperian falsification. We employ our inferential and deliberative rationalities, inferences including deduction, induction and abduction. We look for patterns and search for symmetries and asymmetries. We proceed empirically and record our experiences. We test hypotheses and use the scientific method.   II. The second category represents our rules, abstractions really. It is the realm of mathematics and of formal logic. It is where we agree upon general conventions regarding our definitions, our premises and how to proceed, fallacy-free, toward a compelling conclusion. This is the sphere where we formalize our inferences, both inductive and deductive, and propose our hypotheses (the abductive). Here we muse about using the axioms of nonEuclidean geometry to improve our descriptions and predictions about space and time. Or, we may employ imaginary number systems to facilitate our conceptualizations regarding the putative spatialization of time and/or temporalization of space, conditions which may describe the earliest moments near the Big Bang. We might develop Bohm and Copenhagen interpretations of quantum mechanics and even use a semiotic grammar to predict missing quarks.   III. The third category is another category, level even, of abstraction. It involves meta-theorizing. Because we now employ Euclidean geometry and then nonEuclidean, or now employ calculus and then fuzzy logic, or now employ a Copenhagen interpretation and then M-theory or String theory or semiotic grammar, now look at wave descriptions and then particle descriptions --- all of these theories must be translated and renormalized and their terms disambiguated such that their logics and formal rules are not incompatible, mutually occlusive, mutually unintelligible, and so on.   Staying with the third category -- we look at the formidable task ahead and wipe our brows. Nevertheless, epistemological optimists that we are, we roll up our sleeves, go to our mainframe computers and begin to work on a gigantic spreadsheet. We finally renormalize our manifold theories and they are no longer multiform! We describe our givens: our primitives, forces and laws and we choose our formal axioms. We call our new meta-framework the The Non-Euclidean Fuzzy Semiotic of Copenhagen and it includes our definitions of terms, our premises and formal logico-mathematical axioms. We sit down at the keyboard and begin to input this formula into a single spreadsheet cell.   What happens?   Well, it's happened to most of us more than a few times already, so we wouldn't be on totally unfamiliar cyberground. One types in the cell contents and hits "enter" and the spreadsheet insults us: Error - you have entered a circular reference.  There are a lot of ways to do this -- either straight out or derivatively, but the simple error usually occurs when one has included a reference, not only to other cells in one's formula, but also to the cell into which the formula is being typed. No problem. We change the algorithm to separate our chosen axioms from the rest of our calculation and set up a separate "proof" or math formula or logical argument for those axioms. Darn! Get the same circular reference error. Won't happen again. We place a sticky note on our monitor to remind ourselves to always keep the proofs of our axioms separate from their employment and we write a program to abstract these algorithmically so we don't have to type them all in but can simply hit "Enter" and let the machine generate the other cell contents. A few hours, days, week, months or even years later, the computer is still executing the algorithm: Infinite Loop Error.   Cripes! One cannot, in principle, formally construct a closed meta-theory. Consistent accounts always end up incomplete. Complete accounts, inconsistent. Should have consulted Godel's Theorems. Could have saved some time.   We muse. One cannot go the formal, algorithmic route to prove one's meta-theory because one cannot formally prove the axioms of one's system within the system itself.  Proof may elude us but, for all practical purposes, we know a LOT of stuff we do not bother to formally prove -- indeed, most of what we claim to "know". I'll just proceed informally,  and, at least in part, nonalgorithmically. I'll devise a narrative account and describe my system and tell its story  in a way that one can grasp its significance and its truth value. That way I can transcend the discontinuities encountered at the meta-theoretical level.   IV. Enter the transcendental focus and the meta-narrative, our attempts to tell Everything's Story.   V. And we respond to all of this, variously.   Our analyses will generally attempt some formalization, discerning the implicit presuppositions, suppositions and assumptions of competing metanarratives (and no one has a description of reality that aspires to explanatory adequacy without encountering the above-dynamics). Paradox infects them all in the form of formal fallacies, even if only by analogy. Some accounts are question begging. Some embed their conclusions in their premises and definitions and suffer circular referentiality. Some suffer an infinite regress. Some stop an infinite regress and inject, instead, a causal disjunction. Many  offer an ipse dixit, a stipulated beginning.   The deal is this: Just because an argument is tautological does not mean that it is not in fact true. It does mean, though, that no new information has been added to what we already know.   This is my account of Everybody's Stories. What we need, then, is a consensus on what constitutes virtue -- in this case, epistemic virtue, once agreeing on the constraints, if that is possible.  

 
A radically deconstructive postmodernism over-reached in its over against claims regarding modernism, positioning itself as a system, for all practical purposes, when, in fact,  it was but a pseudosystem, its gainsaying constituting only a critique. Aware of this, Rorty attempted a crypto-system strategy with his narrowly constricted metanarratives.

 
Neville's polemic against the nominalist approach is devastating. Like Gelpi, he doesn't stop there, but, appropriately, sets forth a Peircean-informed system. And I can say little about either Gelpi or Peirce's systems because they require such an inhabitation of same as I've been unable to accomplish (or maybe unwilling, because I prefer to inhabit the basic rubrics of Peirce's approach as a metatechnica, prescinding to a meta-metaphysica, without the impetus to then return to metaphysics per se. I say this, except that I am beginning my exploration of String Theory and prefer to inhabit the edges of metaphysics from the perspective of highly speculative cosmology and theoretical physics, searching there for the efficacies of employing emergentistic and semiotic approaches (even if “just” heuristic devices albeit otherwise calculated and strategic retreats into vagueness, Tao-informed even) in such as the renormalization of gravity and quantum mechanics --- hey, cash value's where it's at?).

 
In the introduction of the idea of the pragmatic maxim, or "cash value" of a truth, we got our workaround for the nominalism-essentialism incommensurability. In my view, this lies at the heart of a triadic semiotic realism.  This semiotic realism (or semeiotic, to stay closer to Peirce), in many ways, seems to comprise a response to the postmodern  critique. Ironically, if modernism had banished formal and final causation and co-opted ontology (material causation), leaving us only efficient and instrumental causations in the "givens" of science (the primitives of space, time, mass, energy, forces and laws), semiotic realism has re-introduced them, at least, in a minimalist and naturalistic sense. I won't flesh out that contention, here, but the pragmatic maxim, itself, constitutes a minimalist telos that is consistent with modern concepts like "ecological rationality" and ontology has been legitimized modally with modern ideas like "bounded existence." Similarly, there's the Polanyian notion of "tacit dimensionality" that is consonant with still other ideas of "nonenergetic causation."  There are distinctions between such as physical reality and objective reality that echo the age-old formal distinction of even Duns Scotus. These distinctions, some novel, some medieval, do not violate physical causal closure, by the way.

 
From a semiotic perspective, all of these cosmological, ontological, axiological, epistemological and teleological categories have been rehabilitated, but only with weakened foundations, which is to say fallibilistic undergirdings. Gone are naive realisms and a prioristic syllogisms. On the scene, a few daring souls are emerging from the shambles of the postmodern blitzkrieg to reconstruct more modest, but fully inhabitable, philosophical structures on these weakened foundations. And these folks are coming from the American pragmatist tradition as influenced by the American transcendentalist movement and speaking in an idiom that is amenable to an inculturated theology, which is, at least inchoately, cognizant of the need to engage the world's manifold and multiform normative cultures. This intercultural engagement finds promise for fruitful exchange in the  philosophical lingua franca of humankind's ubiquitous value-laden thinking.

 
Value-driven thinking presupposes, at its most basic level, an aesthetic realism (hence, cosmology). A semiotic realism, looking for cash "value" (hence, teleology) presupposes, respectively,  moral realism (in that there are unavoidable choices to be made, hence, axiology), metaphysical realism (in that those choices require some authentic synoptic vision, hence, ontology), critical realism (in that a synoptic vision presupposes an inherently normative epistemology) and aesthetic realism (in that aesthetics is the controlling discipline for both logic and morals, ethical judgment subservient to moral judgment vis a vis harmony actualization/avoidance per Neville, for example). Such naturalistic categories can support minimalist cosmologies, ontologies, deontologies, axiologies, and teleologies, bolstered, as they are, by various fallibilistic  epistemologies. These minimalist -ologies thus avoid becoming the often-pejorative -isms and even evoke what can be described as a minimalist transcendence, a boundary that elicits many different responses, most religious even if not all theistic.

 
How might we norm (or re-norm) these responses to this minimalist transcendence? Where might this reality of a minimalist transcendence point to --- univocally or equivocally speaking, analogically and metaphorically, kataphatically and apophatically? However we approach these questions, epistemologically and metaphysically, let us at least be mindful to dance with those who brought us to the normative ball, and that does NOT include ... ... [perhaps to be continued, starting with Dawkins, Dennett and other Enlightenment Fundamentalists.] Thus we would evaluate various Abductions of the Reality of God.

 
Most saliently, the virtue most associated with Responsibility on the way to Authenticity seems to be Courage, especially since our human lot, given our radical finitude, is  moreso having (enjoying and suffering) than doing (Neville per Dewey is it?). Accordingly, the most credible prescription for what ails humanity will require a robust dose of Encouragement, which one might argue directs us to nurture a distinctly Pneumatological Imagination as we seek fully substantive and ever-ready sources of courage, comfort and consolation.

  Regarding Wilber, to be considered integral, it is indeed necessary that all sciences and all modes of knowledge be affirmed. In that regard, Wilber's work is integral, to be sure. However,  Wilber's position, taken to its logical conclusion, ends up being 1) gnostic 2) arational and 3)  radically apophatic. Notwithstanding this, his architectonic is breathtaking in both breadth and depth. In my view, the application of one rather simple distinction can purge his system of its gnostic arationality.  He needs to distinguish between an architectonic of autonomous disciplines and  an organon of interdependent knowledge modes. He improperly conflates these, considering all autonomous.   This is to suggest that my distinction is that of properly relating, on one hand, the sciences, on the other hand, the modes of knowledge. I suppose one could say that an attempt to answer the question of how the sciences are to be properly related can be called an architectonic. And, one might also say that an attempt to answer the question of how the human modes of knowledge are to be properly related can be called an organon.   In my architectonic of knowledge,  the sciences are autonomous, self-governed.   In my organon of knowledge, the modes are not autonomous, not self-governed. Each mode has its moment in every act of knowing. Certain modes may come into sharper relief, even have shorter or longer moments, as one engages the different sciences, but all modes are necessary, none sufficient, in each probe of reality by any human being.   I do not apply this rubric a priori. I apply it, a posteriori, from the experience of my radical finitude, hence, fallibility.   Further, to relate the sciences hierarchically, seems to be proving too much. To relate our modes of knowing hierarchically also seems to be proving too much. It seems to me to be both necessary and sufficient that we affirm the autonomy of the sciences and deny the autonomy of the human modes of knowledge. Whether we call this organon the human evaluative continuum, or the human knowledge manifold, or the human psychological faculties, or consider same functionally or structurally, or as sensation-abstraction-judgment , these different aspects comprise an integral whole.   I would describe Wilber's strategy as trying to be empirical and logical and practical and transrational and thereby avoiding all of the charges of this or that -ism. Ironically, what happens is that, in the objective realm, he ends up being empiricistic. In the logical realm, rationalistic. In the practical realm, pragmatistic and moralistic. And, instead of being transrational, he ends up arational, gnostic. By trying to be all things to all people, he stands for nothing and falls for anything. His architectonic is great. His organon can be fixed, easily. There is nothing special about being transrational. Human knowledge is also transempirical. And it is trans-pragmatic. And it is trans-moral. We go beyond each of these modes but not without them every time we probe reality, whether objectively, subjectively, interobjectively or intersubjectively.      
Bernadette Roberts on enlightenment:
quote:

"There is no multiplicity of existences; only what Is has existence, an existence that can expand itself into an infinite variety of forms that constitute the movement and manifested aspect of itself. Though what Is, is the act, movement, and changing of all forms - and is form itself it is, at the same time, the unchanging, unknowable aspect of all form [and thus referred to as Nothingness, void]. Thus, that which Is, continually observes the coming and going - the changing and movement - of its own form or acts, without participating in any essential change itself. Since the nature or essence of Itself is act, there can be no separation between its knowing, acting, existing, or between any aspect of itself, because that which acts, that which it acts upon, and the act itself are one without division. It never goes outside itself to know itself because the unmanifested, the manifesting, and the manifested are One." Roberts, B. 1984. The Experience of No-self. Boston: Shambala, p. 144.

In this excerpt above, there are some important distinctions drawn and lessons taught. We can learn from Bernadette's distinctions even if, in my view, her interpretations of this experience teach the wrong lesson. Her metaphysical language seems to be very much cast in classical Thomistic concepts like existence, forms, acts, essential, change and movement. In saying there is no multiplicity of existences, she departs from the Thomistic account at the very outset of her consideration, explicitly denying, then, a distinction between Self-subsisting Existence and contingent existence. My interpretations use analogical and equivocal predications in some places where she speaks univocally of, what are to me, otherwise distinct realities. This is not what I want to talk about though. Whether one stipulates to the Thomistic account or that of Bernadette, I want to discuss the wisdom in this:
quote:

That which acts, that which it acts upon, and the act itself are one without division.

This speaks directly to my contention that, Wilber's integrality, improperly conceived, 1) is unitive in a way that distinctions get lost and 2) reduces too many true dichotomies to mere distinctions. One thing that is tell-tale in accounts like those of both Roberts and Wilber, is that, for all their unitive striving, they cannot describe their nondualistic thrust on its own terms and thus remained trapped in the same unintelligible dualisms they are trying to escape. In the same way that nonfoundationalism, for example, deconstructive postmodernism, is not a philosophical system in its own right but a critique of foundationalism, an apophatic approach does not stand over against the kataphatic but, rather, draws attention to the analogical nature of our metaphorical statements, helping us to properly nuance all language (whether scientific, philosophical, metaphysical or theological) with equivocal and univocal predications as needed to more accurately describe reality. This would describe, for example, reconstructive postmodernism. Translation: Our common aim is descriptive accuracy. Kataphatic descriptions increase same through affirmation; apophatic descriptions increase same through negation. They necessarily complement all analogical statements and, especially, those metaphorical statements, which invoke rather weak analogies, for example, God-talk. The notion that "that which acts, that which it acts upon, and the act itself are one without division" is, itself, not dualistic. Not at all dyadic, it describes all knowledge as irreducibly triadic. Returning to my original list of interrogatories, 1) factual? 2) logical? 3) practical? 4) relational? - let us restate Bernadette's Zen koan: The interrogator, the interrogatories and the interrogation are one without division. Our act of judgment, our abstractions and our senses are one without division. Probabilities mediate between what we conceive as possibilities and perceive as actualities. The practical mediates between the logical and the factual. What we learn from both Zen and the American pragmatist tradition is that the way to transcend duality is through mediation, which is to say, through an interloper, which opens the dyadic to a new level, the triadic. Such a triadic account seems to better describe reality and can be stated in its own terms, unlike the mutual unintelligibilities of those terms employed by the dualistic accounts: dualism and nondualism. Nondualism ends up being nothing but the obverse side of the same coin of the dualistic realm, the apophatic stated over against the kataphatic, as if either of these were philosophical systems and not simple language predications. The practical upshot of this thinking, in correcting Wilber's architectonic, placing it on a better foundation, is that one can then apply the rules of semantical vagueness to his categories and come out with a truly coherent scheme. The rubrics of semantical vagueness suggest that, when considering possibilities, excluded middle holds and noncontradiction folds; actualities, both excluded middle and noncontradiction hold; probabilities, excluded middle folds and noncontradiction holds. Translation: When considering Wilber's objective, subjective, interobjective and intersubjective quadrants as categories of interrogatories (or possibilities, or abstractions), these categories are indeed autonomous. The questions they pose are distinct and the answers they yield narrowly pertain to each discrete category. We move beyond one human horizon of concern to the next without regard for questions and answers pertaining to other horizons.

When considering Wilber's objective, subjective, interobjective and intersubjective quadrants as categories of interrogations (or actualities, or sensations), we bracket these categories and their attendant abstractions and judgments, methodologically, in order to better attend, with beginner's mind, to unfiltered reality. When considering Wilber's objective, subjective, interobjective and intersubjective quadrants as categories of interrogators (or probabilities, or judgments), these categories "are one without division" as the interrogator, the interrogatories and the interrogation comprise an irreducible triad of dynamical human realities. We move beyond one human horizon of concern to the next, inescapably influenced by (which is to say, not without regard for) questions and answers pertaining to other horizons. This is authentic transrationality.

The trick is knowing when to go beyond but not without and when to go beyond and without, between distinctions and dichotomies, porridge and succotash. Where the nondualistic Wilber and Roberts go wrong, on one hand, and their dualistic counterparts go wrong, on the other, is in approaching reality dyadically. The Wilberian schema honors the rubric I've put forth for handling human sensation and abstraction quite well. In their view, with the proper asceticisms, sensations and abstractions yield truth. Bring forth your interrogatories, commence the interrogations and get the interrogators out of the way. Enjoy the show as reality's fractals and holons collide kaliedescopically before ... ..., well, no one. This is faux transrationality. In a way, this may seem to place the 1) factual 2) logical 3) practical and 4) relational in the same hierarchical scheme as Helminiak's positivistic, philosophic, theistic and theotic, as different horizons of human concern open themselves to ever expanding vistas. I have previously considered Helminiak's strategy as a remedy to Wilber's but have struggled with its hierarchical nature of progressively widening foci, the narrower constraining the wider. It seems to be enough to say that per one rubric human foci of concern are autonomous and per another they are integrally related, as I set forth above. It seems to be proving too much to say more than that. To situate the positivistic inside the philosophic might get misinterpreted by some as being, well, too positivistic. Falsification, as a scientific methodology, and the tool par excellence of the positivistic horizon, is already inherently normative, which is to say, philosophic. To nestle these horizons of concern one inside the next seems to smuggle in certain implicit presuppositions about epistemological issues, such as notions of truth, knowledge, justification, justified true belief, and such. In plainer speak, epistemology is inherently normative and any notion that a positivistic "is" can be arrived at either independent of, or prior to, a philosophic "ought," doesn't square with human experience. Furthermore, often times, prior to either our philosophic or positivistic concerns, humans necessarily are involved with prephilosophical concerns and relational issues that play out in terms of fundamental trust and mistrust of uncertain reality itself. Such ultimate concerns are expressed in that realm known as faith. One who engages on a positivistic adventure has already placed one's trust in reality's intelligibility (over against nihilism), in human intelligence (over against skepticism), in first principles (like noncontradiction and excluded middle), in belief in other minds (over against solipsism) and a wide array of faith-like maneuvers in prephilosophical presuppositions that cannot be emprically demonstrated (positivistically) or rationally proved (philosophically). Who's then to say that maybe even a theistic intuition, however incohate, might not justify one's trust in uncertain reality, only later to be articulated philosophically? All of this is just to suggest that I have grappled with how to "fix Wilber" for some time even while preserving Helminiak's basic insight of one focus constraining another. I looked for my answer in Fides et Ratio, which describes these processes of human intellection as circular. And, I kept in mind Maritain's distinctions that are made to unite. And I want to honor Lonergan's developmental insights vis a vis conversion. And, indeed, when one combines a circular process with a developmental vector, one gets a spiral dynamic. And I can thus find much to recommend in Clare Graves' spiral dynamics (prior to its marriage to meme theory). And this has been one of the thornier issues I've struggled with. I thought I could see what was wrong with Wilber's edifice, and I saw some truth in Helminiak's strategy to fix it, but I couldn't articulate my inchoate notions. Intelligent Design as a concept requires disambiguation, parsing. The time-honored questions humankind has put to reality can be categorized. They include: 1) Is that factual? 2) Is that logical? and, if so, is one's inference: a) abductive - hypothetical b) inductive - from the specific to the general c) deductive - from the general to the specific 3) Is that practical? and, if so, is it: a) useful (pragmatic) b) moral (good) 4) Is that beautiful? 5) To whom can we go? 6) What return shall we make? The factual realm is positivistic and is concerned with the empirical and heuristic sciences, with speculative and descriptive enterprises, and employs falsification. The next three realms - logical, ethical & aesthetical - are philosophic and are concerned with the normative sciences, with prescriptive enterprises and with both prudential and nonprudential evaluative enterprises. It employs both formal argumentation and nonformalizable inclinations. They can also be thought to articulate the questions: What can I know? What must I do? What can I hope for? The fifth and sixth realms are relational and are concerned with interrelationship dynamics and they trade in the grammar of relationships such as that of assent, trust, love, fidelity and loyalty. They also ask the questions: Why is there something rather than nothing? Why is there something and not rather something else? When it comes to ultimate explanations, Godel's incompletness theorems suggest that we have a choice. We can have a consistent but incomplete explanation. Or, we can have a complete but inconsistent explanation. The practical upshot of this is that ALL of our explanations are going to be tainted by paradox, one or another. The biggest challenge to one who accepts common sense notions of causality is how to stop an infinite regress of causes. Every attempt to stop such a regress opens another paradoxical door with every closing of an explanatory window. Every explanation is either tautological, question begging or introduces a causal disjunction (a cause that no one understands in terms of modern physics). Human knowledge then does not rest on fully formalizable argumentation or proof. Even then, even though we cannot prove the truth of our various axioms, it does not mean that we cannot see their truths. We do not have to proceed half-way through the Principia with Russell and Whitehead, like they would, in order to know that 2 + 2 = 4. Human knowledge is, inevitably, at bottom, conveyed through storytelling or metanarrative. It must go beyond the factual but never without it. It must go beyond the logical but never without it. It must go beyond the practical but never without it. It must become relational even if that ultimately results in a nowhere anchored, unjustified paradoxical trust in uncertain reality (cf. Kung on nihilism). Now, it has been said that reality is not only stranger than we imagine, but stranger than we CAN imagine (Haldane). And Chesterton said: We do not know enough about reality to say that it is unknowable. So, I qualify Haldane's position with a "for now."

G.H. Pugh said that, if our brains were so simple that we could understand them, then, we would be so simple that we couldn't. (Or something like that.) Put Pugh's statement in your irreducible complexity pipe and smoke it! (Inside joke to ID proponents.) Maybe reality is too complex by design to prove it empirically and rationally and practically? All Thomism ever aspired to was to demonstrate the reasonableness of the great arguments for God's existence, not to empirically demonstrate same. I suspect those who one day see the face of God with more clarity than me won't be effabling about the Ineffable when it happens. They'll tell me a story though in the manner they live and move and have their being. It's called hagiography, the study of the saints. How does this digression apply to Intelligent Design? Well, ID has an empirical component. It can and does deal with facts. It also is subject to mediation by the normative sciences. Logically, it is a valid hypothesis. It's abduction can be formalized into an if-then statement and it is logically consistent, internally coherent and externally congruent. In all of these ways, it enjoys an epistemic parity with evolution. At the same time, when it comes to both empirical facts and logical inferences, the volume of available facts and fact patterns that generate a virtuous cycle of multiplying inferences - abductive, inductive and deductive - is SO disproportionate for evolution over against ID, which is to say SO overwhelming, that evolution has made its way into textbooks as a theory via peer reviewed journal literature backed by over a century of research and attempts at falsification. At this point, the ID abduction, which is the weakest of the three forms of inference, cannot be formalized into a hypothetical argument that is falsifiable before the eschaton. Because of its other strengths, it might deserve the play it gets in highly speculative scientific and philosophical journals but, otherwise lacking epistemic parity with evolution, it doesn't deserve equal time in general science textbooks. It would make for a good topic in a graduate seminar in metaphysics, but only for an object lesson in epistemological virtue (and nonvirtue). Because its factual and logical foundations are so weak, ID theory has no real practical application, which is to say that it cannot yet answer affirmatively to the question: Is it useful? The Theory of Evolution, on the other hand, has gifted us with modern medicine. More epistemic disparity. In the relational realm, for instance, in answering the question: Why is there something and not rather nothing? - - - the ID Abduction is purely tautological. As Hume and other philosophers would say, no new information is added by taking existence as a predicate of being. That's a highfallooting way of saying: Why say "being exists"? However, just because something is tautological does not mean it is not true. It remains logically valid even as the soundness of the argument eludes us. Here, it enjoys epistemic parity with those who would maintain that the reality we encounter with all of its primitives, givens and axioms are here as a brute fact. That, too, is tautological, question begging. It seeks to eliminate the paradox by invalidating the question. Now, don't get me wrong, science per se does not venture past the empirical and logical and pragmatic-practical realms into even the moral-practical realm, much less the relational realms. It simply is not asking those questions, in principle, by virtue of definition. Those who do think science ventures into these realms practice what is known in philosophy circles as scientism. It enjoys epistemic parity with creationism as a metanarrative. Now, as far as adjudicating claims of otherwise disparate metanarratives, let's say, creationism and scientism, using nihilism as a foil, Kung would suggest that scientism represents a nowhere anchored and paradoxical trust in uncertain reality. I'd soften that a bit and suggest that it offers an account that aspires to completeness and thus suffers inconsistency. By stopping its infinite regress with brute facts, it has to dismiss with our common sense notions of causality. It basically avers that we are asking the wrong questions. Creationism, on the other hand, preserves causality but introduces a causal disjunction paradox into its tautological account, which is to say that it invokes an analogy of being that has far more dissimilarities than similarities in its description of such causes that are like those we know but unlike them in so very many more ways. Hence, logical consistency is there but explanatory adequacy is woefully lacking. We thus confront the Mysterium tremendum et fascinans. This account, then, is incomplete but consistent. Now, we do not confuse Mystery with unintelligibility. While maintaining that reality is utterly incomprehensible, we do not mean to suggest that it is not at least apprehensble in part. To be sure, we have discovered it is intelligible and supremely so. Our Catholic approach is Goldilocks-like, not too much epistemological hubris (like Carl Sagan, Daniel Dennett and Richard Dawkins), not too much humility (like the nihilists and radically deconstructive postmodernists), but just right (Fides et Ratio). Dennett even wrote a book called: Consciousness Explained. I can explain what he said but not why he bothered. That's your Sophie's Choice, epistemologically. You can opt for godelian completeness with inconsistency, like scientism and id-style creationism. Or, you can opt for incompleteness with consistency, like Aquinas, Scotus, McInerny, Jaki, Jack Haught, Joe Bracken, Chris Corbally, the Vatican Observatory et al. I look at parts of Wilber's approach as a great heuristic skyscraper, a towering frame with giant steel girders, built on the sand of his misconception of what integrality entails. Sometimes, I imagine this very same heuristic, built on the bedrock of a truly catholic foundation, and what I picture is an architectonic that would be a marvel to behold by Aquinas, himself! Integrality, properly considered, is not always a mixed porridge made of the meals of several grains, sometimes it is succotash. Sometimes realities interact dialectically like an Hegelian system of thesis-antithesis and then synthesis. Sometimes they present as a truly catholic creative tension, a both-and, not blending but still gifting us with novel realities. Sometimes syncretism seems right. At other times it doesn't make sense. Maritain said we distinguish in order to unite. Peirce saw fields of human thought and discipline living distinctly, breathing different airs, if you will. Putnam reminds us that not all distinctions are dichotomies. I've said much of Wilber's faux-transrationality before using my mantra of beyond but not without. So, just to say it all again, in a different style - - To Wilber, integrality 1) is too often porridge, too seldom succotash 2) is too often hegelian, too seldom catholic 3) is too often syncretistic, too seldom not 4) is unitive in a way that distinctions get lost 5) reduces too many true dichotomies to mere distinctions Take the objective, subjective, interobjective and intersubjective. Wilber is right to see them as autonomous disciplines of human inquiry, asking distinctly different questions of reality. I even see some overlay in what I set forth above in terms of the factual, logical, practical and relational.

  Notes on Neville:   On my

autodidactic philosophical journey, I have gone from one thinker to the next to the next, constructing, deconstructing and reconstructing my own views, mostly focused on epistemology, and, in so doing, I have continually revised my epistemology as I have been influenced by one critique after another and then another. Regarding that distinctly human activity known as thinking, with respect to its dimensions and their norms, my journey brought me to a type of resting place, a place where I employ and enjoy a certain vantage point or vision of how it is that we know what we know. And I have described that vision in these pages, albeit not very succinctly and without sufficient clarity, brevity and philosophical rigor. My initial impression is this: My autodidactic journey gifted me with a take on epistemology that resonates through and through with Neville's axiology of thinking. His articulation is rigorous and systematic. Mine is crude and poetic. His is the result of a philosophical vision. My own is mostly the result of contemplation. Still, we see this aspect of life the same way. Insofar as I have come to a fairly comfortable place regarding my own epistemology and am not as highly motivated to investigate it with the same zeal and earnestness as in the past, there is a certain irony in the fact that Neville's epistemology is the last one in a very long line of philosophical systems that I've investigated in my life. To me, the irony is indeed extreme. How could it be that that epistemological vision, with which I have most resonated in life, is at the end of my list of investigations? What would my journey look like if I had encountered Neville earlier? At the same time, my appreciation of Neville is not wholly unqualified. Fairly recently, I struggled with Helminiak's appropriation of Lonergan in that he presented the positivistic as more basic than the philosophic. I felt like this position was too strong to defend and I amended my own epistemology accordingly.   I very much like a quadratic approach: empirical, logical, practical (prudential evaluative - moral & pragmatic) and hermeneutical (nonprudential evaluative - aesthetical & personal/relational). Considering these to be horizons of human concern, one might situate them hierarchically, with one more basic, more narrowly focused, and the others progressively broadening in a linear, sequential fashion. Helminiak presented a hierarchy of broadening foci from the positivistic to the philosophic then the theistic and theotic. I applied that, analogously, to my own quadratic, which dealt only with the positivistic and philosophic realms, the latter, in my schema, for the most part, representing the normative sciences - logic, ethics and aesthetics.   The most salient contribution of the American pragmatist tradition, in general, and Neville, in particular, is their recognition of the role of the evaluative dimension of human thinking. Is it, however, foundational?   Notwithstanding one's take on issues of foundations, primacy and/or basicality ---vis a vis human realms or foci or concern, minimally, one can defend the notion that they are not autonomous but are, rather, integrally related. However one conceives of these a) realms of concern, b) dimensions of thinking, c) the human evaluative continuum or d) moments in the act of knowing, the study of epistemology advanced greatly when the evaluative was added to the subjective and objective, to the qualitative and quantitative, when they were all integrally related. However, insofar as I have just eschewed the view that the positivistic is foundational (an aristotelian, thomistic artifact, perhaps), I am not quite ready to quickly concede that status to the evaluative. If I were forced to choose a foundation, it is, however, the one I'd opt for. If the evaluative does enjoy primacy, I would say that this is because of our radical finitude and the extremely contingent nature of our reality. Threatened with nonbeing, we do not probe reality disinterestedly. Before asking where, when, what and how of the space-time, mass-energy plenum, and before asking why, philosophically, humans must consider: "What's it to me?" or we would not even perdure so as to contemplate the infinite, solve reality's riddles or experience its paradoxes. So, existentially, this well describes our intellectual milieu. There is a gap, however, between our existential realizations and our essentialistic possibilities. Some call it Original Sin. Some call it an ontological rupture. Some call it a teleological striving. These perspectives are not mutually exclusive. What, then, are our essentialistic possibilities, epistemically? Put another way, how might we transcend our more narrow concerns to ask questions of reality that might be very meaningful but which are, presently, "uninteresting"? The answer to this question, I believe, is addressed, in part, by various developmental theorists, in part, by Lonergan's conversions.   So, could it be that classical aristotelian, platonic, kantian and humean approaches represented attempts to describe the foundations of our essentialistic, epistemic possibilities, while the existential, analytic, phenomenological and pragmatic critiques represented much needed corrections in recognition of our more humble existential, epistemic realizations? Wittgenstein said that it is not HOW things are but THAT things are, which is the mystical. Perhaps it is not HOW human knowledge is grounded but THAT human knowledge is grounded, which is defensible from a foundational approach. The nonfoundational critique is gainsaying and not, itself, a system. As McInerny has described us as "Characters in Search of their Author," we are foundationalists in search of our foundations. We needn't be overly anxious to establish them as positivistic or evaluative, empirical or rational, idealist or realist or semiotic. Our foundations are obscure but certain. Our epistemological hypotheses are clear but tentative. This parallels the contemplative journey of the mystic and the retreat into vagueness of the philosopher.   I am confident that I will discover enough nuance in Neville in support of my epistemological suspicions. What do I suspect? I suspect that, in addition to our considerations of the dimensions of human thinking and their associated norms (the transcendental values, no less), mirroring the dynamical and developmental nature of reality, itself, the act of human knowing best realizes, existentially, its essentialistic epistemic possibilities, in different ways that are necessarily, context-dependent, developmentally-appropriate, culturally bound and historically shaped. There is no one size fits all epistemological garment with which to cloak human thinking and evaluating. The

empirical cobblers, pragmatic tailors, rational hatters, aesthetic accessorizers and semiotic jewelers best keep their shops open and their skills honed, not because reality's values go in and out of fashion but because its underlying unity is marked by such an inexorable and infinite creative urge toward diversity and plurality.   Neville's hypothesis (the part I've been exposed to) of an evaluative foundation is consistent, coherent, even fecund. As somewhat of a minimalist, I am content, however, to glory in the facts that 1) the evaluative has been given its due and 2) neither the evaluative nor any other foci of human concern are autonomous. The issue of primacy or basicality or foundations, in my view, must be resolved in a contextdependent approach. For the most part, the human context has been marked, historically, by evaluative concerns, but they do not have an independent existence apart from other human foci anyway. At the risk of getting way out in front of my own thinking, I like Haught's whiteheadian conception of reality with its interpenetrating fields, perhaps fully consonant with Bracken's divine matrix. Analogously, I see the human foci of concern as interpenetrating fields, one influencing the next, and not necessarily as hierarchically related. In an emergentistic conception of reality, one can conceive of a hierarchy of seemingly ontologically discontinuous realms, which I suppose is the whole point of invoking the concept of emergence. Analogously, the empirical, logical, practical and hermeneutical realms are not logically related such that they could be presented sequentially via formal argumentation, but, our somewhat untellable story suggests that they are very much intellectually related and all play a role in how we happen to know what we know. Thus we discover their relationships, necessarily a posteriori and not a priori. Thus we describe them in a narrative and not in a syllogism.     I considered, very briefly, Neville's strategy for resolving the paradox of the One and the Many re: the act of creating. I like the strategy and the categories.   I have a problem, however, with using creatio ex nihilo as a response to Why is there not rather nothing? From my own attempts at interreligious and interideological dialogue, I slowly came to realize that that question is not interesting to many people. It is especially uninteresting to the humean cohort, which does not like to take existence to be a predicate of being. To these folks, the concept of nothing is sheer reification, which is to say that they do not believe that there is such a -thing. To these folks, the conclusion that there is a creator is embedded in the premise that there is such a -thing as no-thing. To say that this or that being exists is thus tautological. It may well be true but we haven't really added any new information to the system.   I would keep the strategy but change the question to Why is there something and not rather something else? And the response I'd invoke on behalf of the world's religions is the vague concept of creatio continua, a concept then specified by all of the world's religions. Not only would this still comport with the American pragmatist tradition by being an a posteriori inquiry, it would also resonate with CSP's Neglected Argument for the Reality of God. I would think that the more fundamental and universal human abduction of the Reality of God is that which proposes to answer the question of Why this reality and not rather some other? This is a more generic, more vague question, and Why is there not rather nothing? is just one species, one specification, of the more general question, which is to suggest that nothing is just one of many possibilities for how reality might otherwise present.   The abduction of the Reality of God, then, might have more to do with our experience and incohate grasp of peircean thirdness in our lives. It is more distinctly triadic, adding to the traditional possibility-actuality dyad, the reality of probability. The concept of probability, itself, marks a retreat into ontological vagueness, and is another movement away from the metaphysical a priori, specifically, a movement away from necessity.   I have had some interest in the ontological arguments of Godel and Hartshorne. My initial interest had more to do with my curiosity about why they even bothered. I came to appreciate that by changing Anselm's argument to a modal argument, by disambiguating existence as bounded existence (and still keeping the categories, for instance, of limited and unlimited), we were moreso responding to the question of Why is there something and not rather something else? than Why is there not rather nothing? The chief problem with the modal ontological arguments as formulated by Godel, Hartshorne and others, in my view, lies in the inconsistency and contradictions of their terms and definitions. The solution is simple, however. Those terms can be successfully disambiguated by properly employing apophatic predication. The resulting God-concept thus moreso resembles that described by psuedo-Dionysius or Meister Eckhart, but, hey, we are doing metaphysics and not revealed theology.   Interestingly, my hidden agenda is to harness the good work of the speculative cosmologists and theoretical physicists in the service of natural theology. When they start abducting, at the quantum level, many world theories, at the cosmic level, multiverses, they are, perhaps unwittingly, adding predicates to the Reality of God. At the least, they are formulating their own tautologies and must then humbly admit a certain epistemological parity between their metaphysical project and our own, at which point humankind can only resort to reductio ad absurdum analyses and aesthetic sensibilities to adjudicate these philosophical-theological meta-claims.   More interestingly, and I may have mentioned this before, Terry Deacon derived ten sign classes from the nine sign types and this allowed Sungchul Ji, Ph.D. to formulate a quark model of signs. I gathered this from an obscure listserv re: complexity theory, which, in my own emergentistic take, has everything to do with an aesthetic teleology (cf. Jack Haught on Whitehead and Hartshorne). I only bring this up to suggest that semiotic realism may offer great promise in our project of unifying such as gravity and quantum mechanics, or even such as our Christology of Symbolic Engagement and our abduction of the Reality of God.   Well, I digress. I wanted to mention how I am tempted to tweak Neville's comparative theology project even as I wait to discover if anything in his axiology will inspire me to tweak my own epistemology.  

I do feel that creatio continua would facilitate a more robust pneumatological account. It would allow for sneaking in a little more kataphatic theology and would not be so radically apophatic (almost deistic). At least, we could invoke more analogies and metaphors, perhaps. It would be, through and through, a peircean project. It could be more panentheistic, divine matrix-ish. :-)   November 2006 update: What Neville is doing in my view, upon reading Normative Cultures for the 1st time:   He advances philosophical arguments both in their own terms, systematically, and as critiques, polemically. This is important inasmuch as gainsaying, alone, does not a system make. (Neither does a narrowly constricted Rortyesque metanarrative).   He argues, in my view (and using my words) that human beings are value-realizers. Thus,   1) epistemology is inherently normative; (reconstruction of thinking and imagination/beauty) 2) such critical realism necessarily presupposes metaphysical realism (recovery of the measure and interpretation/truth); 3) normative synoptic visions necessarily presuppose controlling values (normative cultures and theory/unity); 4) normativity presupposes practical responsibility/goodness:     a) pragmatical     b) moral     c) aesthetical     d) relational 5) such responsibilities, respectively, aspire to realize ideal norms:     a) identity thru moral, aesthetical and relational choices over time     b) order thru the moral     c) deference thru the aesthetical     d) engagement thru the relational (interpersonal) 6) The above-sequential ordering reflects a hierarchy of increasing complexity where the levels are intellectually, not logically, related. Also, I am saying that these levels are integrally related, all presupposing the others, a twist, but not an over against, on Neville's contention that these levels presuppose one another - all presupposing imagination; theory and responsibility presupposing interpretation; responsibility presupposing theory. I suggest, above and implicitly, that they presuppose one another in reverse fashion, too. 7) This all squares fairly well with my value-driven "spheres of concern" quadratic. 8) Early on, now, in Normative Cultures, I am grappling with reinstating my previous insistence on a hierarchical relationship between the spheres of human concern following Neville's rationale re: complexity. Also, I am very gratified to find Neville defending my own intuition that the empirical and logical and theoretical are ordered to the practical. Further, I see his distinction between norms of order and deference (respectively relating them to moral and aesthetical ideals) as roughly corresponding to my distinction between the prudential and nonprudential evaluative spheres. Finally, engagement of reality and other persons (my penultimate concern, the relational, as we are radically social creatures) per Neville seems to be very much affected by levels of attainment of human authenticity, where I suspect there's a great deal of consonance between Neville's observations and the ideas of Lonergan as they pertain to the different conversions, various transcendental imperatives and so on. 9) I find it interesting that we use the word "renormalization" in our attempts to reconcile disparate theories in highly speculative theoretical physics (with that discipline's own overlay of metaphors) and that this is playing out in a directly analogous way, renormatively, between cultures in their own realization of truth, beauty, goodness and unity. 10) I remain most focused on epistemology and meta-metaphysics, not too inclined to this vs that metaphysic except to cursorily observe that it is being constructed from an epistemological approach that meets my minimal requirements.   So far, then, the practical upshot of my engagement of Neville is that   1) I'm keeping my quadratic categories, as related, respectively, to beauty, truth, goodness and love     a) empirical     b) logical     c) practical     d) hermeneutical   2) I'm changing their order and accepting his hierarchical rationale     a) empirical     b) logical     c) hermeneutical     d) practical   3) In the practical sphere I will collapse the prudential (pragmatic & moral) and nonprudential evaluative (aesthetical & relational) spheres, the latter which I was calling hermeneutical (after Ingrid Shafer's Zygon article of yesteryear - The Hermeneutics of Love).   4) So I am not abandoning my 4 spheres but adding a new one, which represents theory and can be aptly named hermeneutical (I like alliteration because it makes for a good mnemonic device), and conflating two others (see item #3).

  5) All of my other observations about each sphere pretty much remain intact, substantively, as I set forth, previously, regarding different philosophical schools and their various emphases and approaches re: logic, ethics, aesthetics, re: creed, cult, code and community, and so on and so forth.  
 

Philosophy, phenomenology, science, metaphysics and theology are institutionalized creativity
  I describe three axes below that, taken together, form a three-dimensional matrix, 4 X 4 X 4 approaches to value realization. I label in blue the 16 approaches described by the intersection of the x and y axes. The z-axis represents distinct aspects of human knowing but insofar as they comprise a singular, integral act are treated as a unity, a one. What's the rubric for navigating this matrix in the pursuit of value realization? We all start in media res and, other than that, we need to learn and practice the many different "grammars" (explicated below), best we can, through ongoing conversion, imaginative witness (scripture, liturgy, core expressions), interpretive doctrine and, in a phrase, the cultivation of creativity.  It takes commitment and ordinacy --- first things first, ultimate concerns and a commitment to authenticity. (Merton describes our crises in terms of continuity and creativity. He is spot on.)

 
I am interested in how Lonergan's conversions interrelate to Neville's 1) imaginative witness 2) interpretive doctrines 3) systematizing theories and 4) dialectical practice.

 
I also wonder how I might better interrelate 1) interrogatories 2) interrogations and 3) interrogators and it seems that 1ns, 2ns and 3ns would work whereby we are dealing, respectively, with 1) possibilities and conceptualizations 2) actualities and actualizations and 3) probabilities and objectifications.

 
More specifically, with a) objective, subjective, interobjective and intersubjective aspects of reality comprising a y-axis of types of interrogatories or conceptualizations (architectonic) and b) truth, beauty, goodness and love representing specific types of value actualizations on an x-axis of interrogations, then these conceptualizations (what things could be) and actualizations (what things indeed are) are mediated by c) empirical, logical, practical and aesthetical-relational approaches on a z-axis of objectifications (what things are probable) by interrogators (organon). [An aside: These objectifications comprise objective reality, which is broadly conceived here to included both minimalist and robust versions of "nonenergetic" or "formal" causation, which is to say, a most efficacious downward causation that needn't, necessarily, violate physical causal closure. This has implications for semiotic accounts of pneumatological activity vis a vis human creativity.]

 
As interrogators, humans probe reality employing the normative approaches that then mediate between our phenomenological interrogatories and their resulting metaphysical  actualizations of values.

 
Philosophy is the cultivation, by interrogators, of our imaginative, interpretive and practical skills regarding such images, metaphors and symbols that are prescriptive (where  excluded middle folds but noncontradiction holds, e.g. vagueness).  Phenomenology and science are the cultivation of our imaginative, interpretive and practical skills regarding such images, metaphors and symbols that are descriptive and employed in interrogatories (where excluded middle holds but noncontradiction folds). Metaphysics and theology are the cultivation of our imaginative, interpretive and practical skills regarding such images, metaphors and symbols that are evaluative and employed in  interrogation (where excluded middle and noncontradiction hold).

 
What have we here? Philosophy, phenomenology, science, metaphysics and theology are institutionalized creativity and, if our religions and great traditions touch on Neville's four bases of 1) imaginative witness 2) interpretive doctrines 3) systematizing theories and 4) dialectical practice, they'll more likely hit a home run vis a vis Lonergan's conversions - intellectual, affective, moral, sociopolitical and religious.

 
When it comes to actualizing values, which approaches are to be taken most seriously, and which actual and potential approaches ought to be avoided, modified, or set in  other contexts is problematical and requires a robust discernment process. Said another way, when it comes to optimally actualizing values, which conceptualizations are to be taken most seriously, and which conceptualizations ought to be objectified, avoided, modified, or set in other contexts is problematical and requires a robust discernment  process. [Some applications of Neville on morality in general vis a vis harmony.) The Spheres of Human Concern I like to distinguish between 1) the act of human knowing and 2) the spheres or foci of human concern, or horizons of speculation. These spheres represent different foci or horizons and interrogate reality with distinctively new questions. These spheres are not logically related but their viewpoints are certainly related intellectually. Each viewpoint depends on new and major presuppositions. We move from one viewpoint to another to deepen our understanding of reality. Because each viewpoint is asking different questions, they are irreducibly distinct from one another. Another name for these viewpoints, per my schema, is interrogatories. Our Commitments to Our Values Require Risk Management As we seek a deeper understanding of reality, moving from one vantage point to another, changing our horizons, our novel and major presuppositions can sometimes represent various levels of risk tolerance and risk aversion, all such levels requiring proper risk management in relationship to what it is we value.  For example, if I am looking to augment my realization of truth, beauty, goodness and love, then I will variously amplify or diminish the risks I am willing to take toward this end. This risk amplification or diminution will entail changing one's focus of concern, or changing one's horizon of speculation, as follows. Proper Management of Epistemic Risk Augments the Realization of Human Values One viewpoint is the objective. It is that focus of human concern that employs the empirical perspective. It is concerned with the evidential, descriptive and positivistic (and relational value?). The empirical perspective manages different risks in its commitment to truth, goodness, beauty and love by sometimes changing its focus to the subjective  viewpoint, which employs the rational perspective, which is concerned with the experiential, logically prescriptive and epistemic (and perspectival value?). The subjective viewpoint, with its rational perspective, might then manage the risk in its value commitments by changing its focus to the interobjective viewpoint, with its practical perspective,  which is concerned with the prudential normative and prudential evaluative (the pragmatic and moral, and extrinsic value?). The practical perspective might then manage its  risk in its commitment to truth, goodness, beauty and love by changing its focus to the intersubjective viewpoint, with its hermeneutical perspective. The hermeneutical is  concerned with the interpretive or nonprudential evaluative (the aesthetical and relational, and intrinsic value?). Our Viewpoints Employ Distinct Grammars Each perspective contributes to each singular and integral act of human knowing and employs a distinct grammar that corresponds to its particular focus of concern. The objective viewpoint, with its empirical perspective, employs a grammar of falsification and peircean inductive inference. The subjective viewpoint, with its rational perspective, formally constructed logic and peircean deductive inference.  The interobjective viewpoint, with its practical perspective, employs a minimalist formalism, which includes reductio arguments (which are otherwise flawed due to ad ignorantium premises), peircean abductive inference and the pragmatic maxim. It also employs some quasiinferential capacities such as Polanyi's tacit dimension, Newman's illative sense, Fries' nonintuitive immediate knowledge, which are arguably formal in a minimalist sense. The intersubjetive viewpoint, with its hermeneutical perspective, employs a grammar that is not formally constructed; aesthetically, it employs aesthetical expression,  while relationally, it employs a grammar of trust and assent.     Each viewpoint, with its new perspective, seeks a different understanding of reality and variously raises or lowers the whole enterprise of understanding  reality to different levels of generality, which are higher or lower viewpoints and perspectives. Each viewpoint is valid in its own right, and this realization is  precisely the point of distinguishing different viewpoints and employing new grammars. Because human knowing is a singular and integral act that gathers together all of the distinguishable moments of risk-tolerance and risk-aversion in the human pursuit of augmented value-realization, as that epistemic risk venture interestedly interacts with and probes reality, the system of viewpoints necessarily holds together as a whole, which is to say that the validity of these different viewpoints necessarily constrains the findings of one another.

There may or may not be a hierarchical relationship between various viewpoints, with their various perspectives, but any such hierarchy would not impute more worth to higher  levels, which is a whole other consideration, but would serve merely to properly interrelate them such that, just for example, the intersubjective and hermeneutical could not  invalidate the interobjective and practical, which in turn could not invalidate the subjective and rational, which could not invalidate the objective and empirical. The Augmentation of Our Realization of Truth and Its Attendant Risks Risking all for truth, from the objective viewpoint, with its empirical perspective, we might operate from an implicit 1) correspondence theory that gets articulated, from the  subjective viewpoint, with its rational perspective, as an explicit 2) virtue epistemology. From the interobjective viewpoint, with its practical perspective, we might operate from  such as 3) coherence theory. From the intersubjective viewpoint, with its hermeneutical perspective, we might turn to a 4) community of inquiry. One who is seeking an augmentation of one's realization of truth by proper risk management might change from mere correspondence to a virtue approach as the descriptive changes its focus to the  prescriptive. One's realization of truth might be further augmented by changing these objective and subjective foci to a more open and flexible interobjective viewpoint, with a  coherence approach, which is a more practical focus. Another epistemic venture in one's attempt to augment one's realization of truth is the turn of one's focus to a community of inquiry with an intersubjective viewpoint and its hermeneutical perspective. The Augmentation of Our Realization of Beauty and Its Attendant Risks Risking all for beauty, from the objective viewpoint, with its empirical perspective, we experience art as mere 5) mimesis and imitation, which gets expressed, from the subjective viewpoint, with its rational perspective, as 6) formalism and essentialism.  From the interobjective viewpoint, with its practical perspective, we might view art as 7)  instrumental and  as moral agent. From the intersubjective viewpoint, with its hermeneutical perspective, we might engage art as 8) expressionism and emotionalism. One  who is seeking an augmentation of one's realization of beauty by proper risk management might change from a mere mimetic and imitational focus on the aesthetical object to a formalism or essentialism as the descriptive changes its focus to the prescriptive, specifically, to a more intentional aspect of an aesthetical object. One's realization of  beauty can be further augmented by changing these objective and subjective foci to a more open and flexible instrumentalism and moral agency approach, which is a more  practical focus, which takes into account a putative normative aspect of an aesthetical object. Another epistemic venture in one's attempt to augment one's realization of beauty is the turn of one's focus to expressionism and emotionalism with an intersubjective viewpoint and its hermeneutical perspective, which marks a surrender to art for  the sake of art, which is to say, to a putative transcendental perspective that views beauty as its own reward. The Augmentation of Our Realization of Goodness and Its Attendant Risks Risking all for goodness, from the objective viewpoint, with its empirical perspective, we might operate from an implicit 9) deontological theory that gets articulated, from the  subjective viewpoint, with its rational perspective, as an explicit 10) virtue ethics. From the interobjective viewpoint, with its practical perspective, we might operate from such as 11) contractarian ethics. From the intersubjective viewpoint, with its hermeneutical perspective, we might turn to 12) teleological ethics. One who is seeking an augmentation of one's realization of goodness by proper risk management might change from a mere deontological focus on the act of a moral object to a virtue or aretaic approach as the descriptive changes its focus to the prescriptive, specifically, to the intentional aspect of a moral object. One's realization of goodness can be further  augmented by changing these objective and subjective foci to a more open and flexible interobjective viewpoint, with a contractarian approach, which is a more practical focus, which takes into account the circumstantial aspect of a moral object. Another epistemic venture in one's attempt to augment one's realization of goodness is the turn of one's focus to an intersubjective viewpoint with its teleological perspective, which marks a surrender to a putative transcendental value.  The Augmentation of Our Realization of Love and Its Attendant Risks Risking all for love, in the bernardian sense, we exhibit 13) love of self for sake of self (or eros) and that gets amplified, in the rational and practical realms, as 14) love of other  for sake of self, or reciprocal altruism (perhaps philia). This grows into the 15) agapic love of other for sake of other, beyond all practical considerations. And finally, unitively, our hermeneutic comes full circle to 16) love of self for sake of other. Once again, there is an augmentation of one's realization of love by such risk management as changes from a mere eros, and focus on oneself,  to an other-interested philia, which is an enlightened self-interest as one broadens one's focus to others. Additional risk management is involved in, and one's commitment to love can be further augmented by, the changing of one's focus from eros and philia to a more robustly-oriented agape, the love of other for sake of other. The last venture in one's attempt to augment one's commitment to love is the realization of solidarity and the unitive, in a subliminated storge and authentic IThou relationship. The Journey as an Aesthetic Teleology This is the journey of authenticity for all who sojourn through this apparently emergentistic reality we call our universe. And our journey, step by step, is perilous and riskladen, and any ongoing augmentation of our realization of truth, goodness, beauty and love requires a discerning management of risk that plays out in our existential orientations toward these apparently inescapable imperatives by our ongoing intellectual, moral, affective and sociopolitical conversions (cf. Lonergan). And these conversions necessarily entail risks. And these risks have rewards. And we have been told, by the aesthetic teleologists, that the greater the number of bifurcations and permutations that comprise a system, the greater the number of risks involved,  the greater the number of individual threats to that system's stability and the greater its fragility. But the fragile is  here equated with beautiful. The more fragile, the more beautiful. And so it is with truth, goodness and love. Ontological Presuppositions This journey takes one from a focus on the objective to the subjective to the interobjective to the intersubjective, variously criss-crossing between these realms. This account of these foci is primarily epistemological but it does have some implicit ontological presuppositions, at least from a phenomenological perspective. It does commit to a metaphysical realism and a fallibilistic approach to metaphysics. It does commit to a moral realism, if for no other reason, because it affirms an inherent normativity in the integral act of human knowing.  It also entails an aesthetic realism and ecclesial realism. The Peircean Connection These relationships are anticipated by the peircean aphorism that the normative sciences mediate between phenomenology and metaphysics.  There is another peircean  adage that orthopraxis authenticates orthodoxy and there it is, in this above schema, as the practical mediates between the empirico-rational and the hermeneutical. Other Philosophical Schools in Context As far as the major schools of thought and theories for epistemology, aesthetics and ethics, that one will recognize in my schema above, I am not suggesting that these are facilely reconcilable systems. Rather, it seems that, in each sphere of concern, there seems to be a proper emphasis on the objective, subjective, interobjective or intersubjective aspect of  noetical, aesthetical, moral or relational objects (truth, beauty, goodness and love) and that the major theories tend to, improperly, variously overemphasize and underemphasize these aspects and tend to dwell more or less exclusively in one or another of these spheres of concern with respect to those objects. In fact, I am suggesting that the entire human evaluative continuum is properly engaged in each sphere of concern and on all aspects of these noetical, aesthetical, moral and relational objects, even if certain distinguishable moments in the integral act of knowing, or certain distinguishable aspects of the evaluative continuum, do seem to more fully engage this or that aspect of this or that noetical, aesthetical, moral or relational object when the evaluative continuum is engaged in this or that sphere of concern. Notes:

 
I applaud system builders who construct novel approaches with new hypotheses and who employ new definitions, axioms, logic and metaphors. Alternate systems are going to be incommensurate, in principle, with definitions, axioms, logic and metaphors that are mutually unintelligible, one system vs another. However, alternate systems are not going to be, in principle, over against one another.   Before we make such a determination, we might attempt to make them commensurate through "renormalization" efforts, translating and reconciling their definitions, axioms, logic and metaphors such that, for example, we'd be able to unify gravity and quantum mechanics. Renormalization, however, remains a daunting task. So, even if such novel meta-systems are not, necessarily, over against alternate systems, still, while waiting for and

striving for their renormalization, we must nevertheless try to discern which meta-accounts ought to be taken seriously and which ought to be "avoided, modified, or set in other contexts" (applying Neville's normative approach in this context). And, to the extent such meta-accounts do not logically exclude other accounts, they must be judged by other criteria --- normative criteria.  And here is where a "late-modern" and paleo-pragmatic approach helps with its epistemological realism (fallibilism), aesthetic realism, moral realism and ecclesial realism. (I describe Neville's approach in terms of these realisms because they affirm the value-laden character of what I see as Neville's pursuits of truth, beauty, goodness and community).   I do not interpret Neville as a nonfoundationalist but as a weak foundationalist.   This is all to suggest that we do not arbitrarily choose the normative criteria to be employed in our discernment of which meta-narratives are to be "taken seriously and which ought to be avoided, modified, or set in other contexts." The practical upshot is that one, like myself, can make use of Neville's ontological apophaticism to shed some darkness on other metasystems that have a tendency to prove too much. It needn't become radically apophatic, however, if one can defend other accounts as worthy of being taken seriously on their own terms, or otherwise modified or set in other contexts. For example, an otherwise nominalistic process approach can be suitably modified by the concept of "structured fields." An otherwise essentialistic substantialist approach can be suitably modified by including more dynamical concepts. Substance-process ontologies and nuanced panentheisms and divine matrices, however otherwise tautological, can provide meta-accounts that reflect a more taut grasp of reality. Now, the first step in renormalization must be much akin to that maneuver where us wannabe metaphysicians prescind, from time to time, from more robustly metaphysical accounts to strictly phenomenological perspectives. This marks a purposeful retreat into vagueness: epistemic, ontological and semantical. Even this requires discernment of when vagueness should be taken more seriously than other metanarratives or might best be avoided, modified, or even set in other contexts.   A value-driven architectonic and organon of knowledge that is paleo-pragmatic, weakly foundational, fallibilistic and affirming of semiotic, aesthetic, moral and ecclesial realisms makes for a taut tautology and, in the end, will not have a tendency to prove either too much or too little. It will inexorably advance in its knowledge of such normative criteria as will enhance our realization of eternal values. Neville's solution to the riddle of the One and the many might very well address the "pan" in panentheism, might very well account for God's immanence and some univocity between Creator and Hefner's created co-creators. Hartshorne's modal ontological argument, modifed by apophatic predication of divine attributes and some equivocity between Creator and creatures, might better account for God's transcendence and is much more robustly theistic. Braken's divine matrix, with its structured fields, might better account for the "en" in panentheism, providing a heuristic for just how it is that creation is lured, however unobtrusively, to optimal realization of values as exemplified in God's eminence. I am anticipating some resonance between my own value-laden architectonic and organon and Neville's axiology. However, I do not think I could defend what appears to be a somewhat arbitrary norm re: a choice of meta-accounts based on their relative success in grappling with the One and the many.   And I do applaud a retreat into vagueness as an ecumenical and dialogical strategy and even as a tool for comparative theology. I sense that it could very well shed some light on pneumatological dynamics.   The jury is out, however, on just how much vagueness should "taken seriously or otherwise avoided, modified, or set in other contexts" when it comes to building a systematic theology or grappling with an authentic Christology. Let a thousand hypothetical blossoms bloom and fade, I say, without rather arbitrary eliminative pruning. Let's retreat into vagueness only to return to clarity when reality thus beckons us forth from Plato's cave.  We do not want our ontologies to be excessively humble as a result  of our excessive epistemological hubris. Any defense of the normative criteria, which we employ in our  selections of one meta-account over another, must be robustly empirical, logical, practical, moral, aesthetical and relational. It won't be wholly formal or informal. We do not say this because we have an a priori grasp of epistemic virtue but only because we have an a posteriori experience of a human rationality that is non-, pre-, inferentially, superand trans- rational, or, in a word, ecological. We are, inescabably, "interested," whether highly or dis-interested, as interrogators when we pose our interrogatories in our reality-probing interrogations. And what we probe is evaluative, which is inextricably intertwined with our descriptive and prescriptive enterprises. If we were not so radically finite and contingent, there'd be a perfect symmetry between interrogator and interrogatories in interrogation processes, obviating all probes. The asymmetry sets us on the value-realization journey, launches the cosmic adventure. I cannot say why but so it seems. And so we probe. Neville's metaphysics seems too narrow. But I suspect even his own axiology can successfully defend its broadening (as I project it is much like my own). It brings to mind a question a friend asked, years ago, when we were birding: "What's the distance from an epistemology to a worldview?" At this point in humankind's journey, I have come to believe that that distance is traversed across aesthetic sensibilities, seeing how there is so much ambiguity and somewhat of a stalemate, for now, empirically, logically and practically. [Although, some is clearly traversed by our imaginative witnesses and interpretive doctrines.] And that's my chosen task, to somehow overcome the ambiguity and break the stalemate.   And the next good step seems to be in the direction of vagueness under a pneumatological impetus. No good Catholic Christian, worth his salt, is going to lose a wink of sleep wondering whether or not the eventual return to precision and clarity is going to, in any way, threaten a truly authentic and most high Christology! re: His strategy regarding the "nature" of God seemed to me to be eliminativist in that he adopted an approach wherein questions re: God's nature become nonsensical. I wanted to nuance that better. On one hand, it seems that questions about God's nature are speculatively wide open, while, on the other hand, they seem to be practically off limits. In some sense, I resonate with this to the extent that it might imply that there is no "in principle occulting" of ontological questions, that we do not know enough about reality yet to say that it is un/knowable (Chesterton). And, while such ontological inquiries are not speculatively out of bounds, what we are faced with, presently, is a dearth of metaphysical knowledge, which is somewhat invincible at this particular juncture on the human journey of knowledge re: our ultimate concerns. So, properly nuanced, I am in total agreement -- if God's utter incomprehensibility is attributed to His supreme intelligibility and not rather to some, in principle, occulting. Neville's great circumspection is thus hygienic, a good prophylactic against metaphysical dogmatism. At the same time, I don't have quite the same beef with Aristotle and his progeny.

  For my part, I look at the dialogue between a Cobb and a Neville, or between Merton and Zen, and I look at these categories: the apophatic, impersonal, existential, immanent encounter, and the kataphatic, personal, theological, transcendent encounter and I turn my interest quickly to trying to locate the source of the creative tension that exists between these apparent polarities.   And no simple triangulation strategies work because these realities are terribly asymmetrical. And this speaks to me of the idea of the liminal threshold, that crazy in-between place, perhaps on Whitehead's "borders of chaos" where all "creative advance" takes place.   The discovery of liminal space reveals it to be a wild and crazy space, much more like an African Safari than an English Tea (much less a German classroom), where the resolution of creative tensions and the discovery of

mediating normative criteria are not found in facile harmonizations and easily dissolving dichotomies but, rather, in endlessly cascading asymmetries --- some we're to harness, some we're to avoid, some we're to modify, some we're to recontextualize, all which will yield eternal values should we dare to probe and interrogate.   As for Inter-religious Dialogue   Well, for sure, I don't advocate any facile syncretism or indifferentism. This boils down to, in some measure, an exercise in developing the normative criteria by which we can judge various levels of success at institutionalizing Lonergan's conversions, which are, in turn, cultivation strategies for actualizing values.   To the extent that we, as Hefner's created co-creators, are autopoietic & free, on one hand, and, otoh, bounded & determined, theological  anthropology does become a very, sticky widget. Still, I think we can stay grounded in creativity, both us and the Godhead, both being and its ground, if we mind our predicates, neoplatonically -- proodos, mone and epistrophe (proceeding, rest and return; kataphasis, liminality and apophasis; metaphorical, analogical and literal).   Cobb talks about a diversity of religious paths, religious goals, religious orientations, differences in that toward which religions are oriented. This might suggest that one woman's core is another man's periphery. And that would seem to suggest that there could be a lot of dry holes for anyone trying to drill down to a single mystical core. However, if Buddhist and Advaitan asceticisms and doctrines are approached moreso as pathways to the experience of the not-wholly-other and not as ontological teatises, and if the Abrahamic asceticisms and doctrines are approached moreso as pathways to the experience of a Most-Holy-Other and not as ontological teatises, then our comparative theological divining rods become much more sensitive to this putative mystical core. These different experiences are but obverse sides of that same coin of the religious realm,  which is solidarity. Ortho-doxy, our true glory, is in the celebration of this solidarity. Ortho-praxis thus ensues in the form of compassion. If we use practical experience to define our mystical core and not speculative cosmology and ontology, then the categories of our comparative exercise will  reflect the practical and evaluative as central,  the descriptive and prescriptive as peripheral. This is not to say that the descriptive and positivistic  are not central to science and the prescriptive and normative are not central to philosophy, only to suggest that the central focus of theology is evaluative and practical. It helps to know what we are drilling for when we are scouting for well sites.   Now, if our normative criteria are to be grounded in our cultivation of creativity (which would be consistent with the journey to authenticity for one who is a co-creator), and this cultivation can be calibrated in measures of success in institutionalizing conversions, then, practically speaking, how do our experiences of the not-wholly-other and the Most Holy Other inform our approaches to value-actualization 1) intellectually, noetically, in relation to truth 2) affectively, aesthetically in relation to beauty 3) morally, ethically in relation to goodness 4) relationally, interpersonally in relation to society and community and 5) religiously, in binding our wounds and making us whole? How might our conversion experiences be especially enriched and our creativity be especially cultivated by our experiences of, on one hand, the not-wholly-other and, on the other hand, the Most Holy  Other? How might they be especially impoverished by our failure to robustly experience either of these orientations? What special synergies  emerge from robustly experiencing both orientations?    For now, I'll desist from answering these questions, content with my inchoate framing of them.   Still, in my view, the real conundrum is not located in devising the categories of our normative criteria, the really hard comparative work is that which will require serious attempts to inhabit the culturally embedded images, metaphors and symbols that are used in this culture or that for descriptive, prescriptive and evaluative enterprises and in the cultivation of the imaginative, interpretive and practical skills that inform one's employment of them. I suppose my own experiences with energy upheavals and so-called kundalini arousals and my need to somehow integrate them into my other experiences, much of this brought on by contemplative practices that mirrored Zen meditative asceticisms, reinforce the need to experientially inhabit otherwise alien images, metaphors and symbols prior to any "renormalization" exercises between alternate hermeneutics. [Nondiscursive glossolalia and energy manifestations, in pentocostalism and charismatic movements, have a parallel here, in my view, just to open up another angle for your particular interests. And so, too, with the hesychasts of Mt. Athos. By the way, if we retreat from aristotelian metaphysical formulations into semiotic categories or phenomenology, I suspect we could reconcile the Roman Catholic tradition with both Anglican and Orthodox traditions. That would be the first efficacy of any retreat into vagueness! The filoque, of course, is already a nonissue: Spirit move when  you will, where you will, how you will. Spirit of God, now, move within me!] In extensive dialogue with others, over the years, who have experienced  different degrees and types of hermeneutical cohabitation, I have come to especially appreciate how facile and superficial our comparative religious exercises can be. Even a Catholic contemplative superstar, like Fr. Thomas Keating, OSB,  became quite enamored with Ken Wilber's  version of transrationality, which as I have complained before, arrogates to advaitan perspectives a radically apophatic and thoroughly gnostic take on reality, superior to anything "lesser minds" can grasp. Well, I suppose one could write a book on these dialogical struggles but that brings up an aside ...   Speaking of arrogation --  My use of the triadic interplay of interrogatories, interrogations and interrogators is grounded in my master paradigm of harvesting values. In my Catholic tradition, we celebrate Rogation Day (which M-W defines as any of the days of prayer especially for the harvest observed on the three days before Ascension Day and by Roman Catholics also on April 25). And, true to my own roots, this is all very Latin: rog-, roga-, -rogate, rogation, -rogatory for ask, inquiry, request, beg.   So cultivating creativity and harvesting values as created co-creators is grounded in rogation, which is to say, litany and supplication. It is the fitting and proper orientation of creature toward Creator, of the finite and contingent in relationship to Infinite.   And so we can characterize epistemic virtue and nonvirtue in terms of rogation: abrogate, arrogate, derogate, interrogate, prerogative, prorogation (defer or postpone) and subrogate.     To better contextualize the thoughts below, first, some correctives and other food for thought:  
Rather than using words like empirical, rational, logical, aesthetical, ethical, practical, hermeneutical and such, and rather than discussing them as foci of human concern, it seems like it would suffice to just describe the questions we all ask of reality: 1) Is that a fact? 2) What can we know? Is it true? 3) What must we do? Is it good or evil? Is it right or wrong? Is it useful? 4) What can we hope for? Is it beautiful? 5) To whom can we go? What or whom can we trust? 6) What return shall we make?   And that just takes me full circle back to the values I set forth here: http://bellsouthpwp.net/p/e/per-ardua-ad-astra/architect.htm

  In considering how I might [re]construct my arguments, some nagging questions arose and I found myself critiquing my scheme and finding that certain of its positions were too strong for me to defend. I know that such exercises as building supposed architectonics have more heuristic than speculative value. I also know that when things get too tidy, too neat, too facile, one is on the verge of "proving" too much. As it is, reality continues to present itself to me as a dance between continuity and discontinuity, pattern and paradox, chance and necessity, order and chaos, random and systematic. Only a retreat into various types of vagueness has ever seemed to "capture" different of reality's aspects and/or presentations.   All that it mind, I do not care to defend:   1) any hierarchical structure, such as Helminiak's, suggesting that one focus is necessarily broader than another or contained within another, which also seems to suggest that one might be more basic than another, for example, the positivistic constraining the philosophic. If the positivistic is mostly dealing with "Is that a fact?" --- still, from a pragmatic and philosophic perspective, that question has been preceded by "What's it to me?" and this is only a reiteration of the peircean notion that the normative sciences "mediate" between phenomenology and metaphysics, for example. So, there is no need to open up the old can of worms of empiricism vs rationalism, or of basicality in justification, or of foundationalism and nonfoundationalism. As it is, Helminiak's appropriation of Lonergan has not, best I can tell, answered the Gelpian critique, which rejects the transcendental approach to Thomism with its Kantian issues.   2) It suffices to note, then, that the answers we obtain to the various questions we ask of reality are already properly constrained, not by any hierarchical arrangement, but, merely by the fact that our various questions are different. And these otherwise disparate Q&As do influence one another intellectually even while not necessarily being related logically. For  example, sometimes our aesthetical inclinations adjudicate between two empirical or two logical positions, which cannot otherwise be resolved at any given point in time for one reason  or another.   3) Also, regarding the augmentation of value by the amplification of risks as we move from the objective to the subjective to the interobjective and then intersubjective perspectives --again, too tidy. In the first place, I would not want to defend the proposition that values are augmented only through the amplification of risks. What about the Principle of Conservation of Beliefs? We had a saying in the banking industry that "Profits do not come from taking risks but from superior skill at managing risk." And this is just to acknowledge that sometimes we better realize our values through increased risk aversion, sometimes through increased risk tolerance, always through risk modulation. So, the risk paradigm is fitting for this cosmic adventure, but it cannot be described with directionality. I also recall a paper by Tom Short on how and why Peirce would be a moral and political conservative. I'll have to look that up again.   Well, enough of all that. For now, I moreso picture the different questions we ask of reality and their answers as "fields of influence" and, at that, as rather amorphous and mutually  interpenetrating fields or clouds that help direct our behavior. And this dance between empirical, rational and practical considerations is messy, not at all suggestive of linearity, basicality, directionality, ordinacy, not indicative of the hierarchical --- but clearly suggestive of notions such as mediation, probability, supervenience and such that honor vagueness. All the categories are still there, whether of Plato, Kant, Peirce or whomever, but their structure and assembly and interrelationships are more problematical than I ever seem willing to accept, which keeps the philosophical impetus alive and even fun, when it isn't otherwise terrifying. A much better master paradigm would seem to be that of the weather. I'll be thinking meteorologically between now and my next epistemological blizzard.

 
Concerning my struggle above with my "value realization thru risk amplification" paradigm as contained in my organon-architectonic. I sensed it was too tidy and would probably be hard to defend. At least I did not want to consider it as an exhaustive explanation for how it is we, as humans, realize truth, beauty, goodness and love. I still feel  like it is an important element.

 
One aphorism I really bought into during my banking career was this: Profits do not come from taking risks but from superior skill at managing risks.

 
I have felt like that adage was holding a key that would help me unlock the door to a new level of understanding regarding life's risk-taking ventures in relationship to life's value-realizations.  And I think I can begin to articulate at least an early level of understanding now.

 
It is not our risk-taking per se that fosters value-realization. It is our approach to risk-taking. It is our "superior skill at managing risks." And this "skill" might be equated with Lonergan's conversions, just for example.

 
Brother David Steindl-Rast, OSB, advocates leisureliness. He says: "Leisure is not the opposite of activity, productivity, or work. Rather, leisure is the right balance between give and take, between work and rest ..." He equates leisure with an inner attitude of trust and thanksgiving, as an approach that entails nothing less than celebration of whatever we happening to be doing (or not doing).

 
Striking the right balance might not always involve taking the "Middle Path" or the triangulation of otherwise polar realities. It does involve a reception of reality as it is and with awareness and mindfulness. And, one who is truly aware will be truly grateful and will be celebratory.

 
So, I am willing to suggest that value-realization does not come from taking risks but from ongoing conversions that facilitate our management of life's inescapable risks, sometimes requiring risk augmentation, sometimes risk diminution, sometimes even powerlessness. The fruit of these conversions is a Grateful Celebratory Attitude, which is its own reward. That this approach of "celebrating gratefully," which is intrinsically rewarding, should hold the key to humanity's augmented realization of truth, beauty,  goodness and love, is not at all counterintuitive because these values and our pursuit of them are the most intrinsically rewarding of all values and all pursuits. They embody our existential orientation to those transcendental imperatives that are finally ordered to the Divine Attributes themselves.

 
This requires open hands and not clenched fists, Brother David would say. It is not about control and it is not about eliminating risks. It is about trust and the courage to amplify/diminish what risks we can, the serenity to live with what risks we must and the wisdom to know the difference. For encouragement and wisdom, we have a Consoler and Counselor --- our abduction of the Reality of the Holy Spirit. 

  Neville as a Foil > I was especially struck by the following quote: "Not that the destruction of > a particular harmony is necessarily evil, for the harmony itself might be > bad. Morality is concerned with which potential harmonies ought to be > actualized and which actual and potential ones ought to be avoided, > modified, or set in other contexts." Robert Neville, Concerning Creativity > and God: A Response, Process Studies, pp.1-10, Vol. 11, Number 1, Spring , > 1981. > > This reminded me of my struggle with my paradigm concerning the augmentation > of value via the amplification of risks. You'll recall I modified that > position to the augmentation of value via the "management" of risks (to put > it succinctly). > > I was having the same struggle with aesthetic intuitions regarding symmetry > and asymmetry, order and chaos, pattern and paradox, random and systematic, > chance and necessity, novelty and monotony, apophasis and kataphasis, yin > and yang, complexity and simplification, and other seemingly dipolar > realities, even that of precision/clarity and vagueness. For example, I had > written: "Only a retreat into various types of vagueness has ever seemed to > 'capture' different of reality's aspects and/or presentations." Well, of > course, sometimes vagueness is called for, other times not. What should we > do when? If life is a dance and God is our Fred Astaire, does He really

> expect us to be Ginger Rogers, which is to ask, are we to do everything He > does except backwards and in high heels? At any rate, a simple triangulation > of polar realities or a taking of a Middle Path or of a Third Way or of a > full advance or retreat doesn't always hold the answer. Proper "management" > is more nuanced and complex. > > Neville also writes: "So I do believe in a God beyond the metaphysical > categories illustrated in temporal process; but such a God is indeed beyond > the categories and cannot except by devious analogy be called individual, > actual, knowledgeable, or a variety of other things Hartshorne attributes to > his God." > > I wondered, myself, why both Godel and Hartshorne got caught up in > ontological arguments, albeit modal. Neville desists from assailing the > logic of the arguments and I think he is correct in that for they do not > fail via fallacy. Where they lose their impetus is in their failure to > disambiguate divine attributes, speaking, as they do, univocally of Creator > and creature. I'm sure he must be aware that there is another strategy that > involves apophatic and equivocal predication of such attributes and that it > makes for a rather compelling modal ontological argument. And this would > seem to otherwise square well with Neville's Creator, Whom Cobb critiques as > having Eckhardt and other such mystics as its antecedent (rather than that > Creator Who's at the center of biblical tradition). I'd thus receive Cobb's > critique as a compliment, for that is quite the point, metaphysically > anyway. > > Well, there is too much to comment on. Generally, I like the 1) a posteriori > 2) affirmation of metaphysics 3) interreligious dialogue 4) comparative > theology 5) aesthetic emphasis 6) value drivenness 7) incorporation of > platonic insight 8) earnest engagement of process approaches 9) watchful eye > on nominalism, substantialism, essentialism 10) relationship to the American > pragmatic tradition 11) natural theology and theology of nature as starting > points and in media res departure, too 12) give and take between idealism > and realism, rationalism and empiricism 13) use of vagueness 14) meta-foci. > He doesn't employ excessive pejorative force but allows each p.o.v. to > critique the other, which seems to be the whole point, epistemologically and > metaphysically. I wonder where, in my upcoming dialectical analysis of > Neville, we'll a) agree b) converge c) complement or d) dialectically > reverse.  We are being lured toward ad majorem Dei gloriam. I'll take the  > bait. >  Mmy early reading of Neville leaves me with these impressions. > > I had been immersed in the patristic tradition that was informed by > neo-platonic thought and such influences as pseudo-dionysius. In the > medieval vein, Duns Scotus -- with his a) formal distinction, b) views of > the incarnation (no felix culpa, was inevitable) and c) primacy of God's > will. And my own development of same led me to being mistaken for a peircean > type. If I resonate with Neville, and I do, it is on this level and not > based on his appropriation of Peirce. I REALLY like his over-against Kant. > Kant's edifice was built on the quicksand of a response to Hume. The humean > critique was empty because it took Aristotle to task for taking existence to > be a predicate of being, which was a mere tautology.  All of this is to say  > that answers to the question Why is there something and not rather nothing? > are not terribly compelling because many take "nothing" to be an empty > reification and no new information is being provided. Don't get me wrong, > just because it is not compelling, or is tautological, does not mean it is > not meaningful. It does suggest we need to look further than, for instance, > Thomism and aristotelianism, to get an even more "taut" tautology. > > Tracking on Scotus, Neville's creatio account ventures an answer to Why is > there something and not rather something else? And this question is more > meaningful to most people. It resonates with modal ontological arguments and > ideas of "bounded existence." And Neville's answer regarding the One and the > many -- that asymmetry is fundamental --- is brilliant, even if not > exhaustive. Sure, it has its own tautology, but, vis a vis our experience of > reality, a posteriori, it offers a more "taut" grasp of reality, > metaphysically. Theoretical physicists answer questions at the quantum level > with a "many worlds hypothesis" and at the cosmological level with > multiverse theory. It makes me think that, at least, Neville is getting the > question correct, even if we are still mostly begging its answer. > > I don't see Thomism and Scotism, or aristotelianism and platonism, as > mutually exclusive. Their axioms are not logically related. The answers they > yield are nonetheless intellectually related. >

> His strategy regarding the "nature" of God seemed to me to be eliminativist > in that he adopted an approach wherein questions re: God's nature become > nonsensical. I applaud system builders who construct novel approaches with > new hypotheses and who employ new definitions, axioms, logic and metaphors. > Alternate systems are going to be incommensurate, in principle, with > definitions, axioms, logic and metaphors that are mutually unintelligible, > one system vs another. However, alternate systems are not going to be, in > principle, over against one another. Before we make such a determination, we > might attempt to make them commensurate through "renormalization" efforts, > translating and reconciling their definitions, axioms, logic and metaphors > such that, for example, we'd be able to unify gravity and quantum mechanics. > > Renormalization, however, remains a daunting task. So, even if such novel > meta-systems are not, necessarily, over against alternate systems, still, > while waiting for and striving for their renormalization, we must > nevertheless try to discern which meta-accounts ought to be taken seriously > and which ought to be "avoided, modified, or set in other contexts" > (applying Neville's normative approach in this context). And, to the extent > such meta-accounts do not logically exclude other accounts, they must be > judged by other criteria --- normative criteria.  And here is where a  > "late-modern" and paleo-pragmatic approach helps with its epistemological > realism (fallibilism), aesthetic realism, moral realism and ecclesial > realism. (I describe Neville's approach in terms of these realisms because > they affirm the value-laden character of what I see as Neville's pursuits of > truth, beauty, goodness and community). I do not interpret Neville as a > nonfoundationalist but as a weak foundationalist. This is all to suggest > that we do not arbitrarily choose the normative criteria to be employed in > our discernment of which meta-narratives are to be "taken seriously and > which ought to be avoided, modified, or set in other contexts." > > The practical upshot is that one, like myself, can make use of Neville's > ontological apophaticism to shed some darkness on other metasystems that > have a tendency to prove too much. It needn't become radically apophatic, > however, if one can defend other accounts as worthy of being taken seriously > on their own terms, or otherwise modified or set in other contexts. For > example, an otherwise nominalistic process approach can be suitably modified > by the concept of "structured fields." An otherwise essentialistic > substantialist approach can be suitably modified by including more dynamical > concepts. Substance-process ontologies and nuanced panentheisms and divine > matrices, however otherwise tautological, can provide meta-accounts that > reflect a more taut grasp of reality. > > Now, the first step in renormalization must be much akin to that maneuver > where us wannabe metaphysicians prescind, from time to time, from more > robustly metaphysical accounts to strictly phenomenological perspectives. > This marks a purposeful retreat into vagueness: epistemic, ontological and > semantical. Even this requires discernment of when vagueness should be taken > more seriously than other metanarratives or might best be avoided, modified, > or even set in other contexts. A value-driven architectonic and organon of > knowledge that is paleo-pragmatic, weakly foundational, fallibilistic and > affirming of semiotic, aesthetic, moral and ecclesial realisms makes for a > taut tautology and, in the end, will not have a tendency to prove either too > much or too little. It will inexorably advance in its knowledge of such > normative criteria as will enhance our realization of eternal values. > > Neville's solution to the riddle of the One and the many might very well > address the "pan" in panentheism, might very well account for God's > immanence and some univocity between Creator and Hefner's created > co-creators. Hartshorne's modal ontological argument, modifed by apophatic > predication of divine attributes and some equivocity between Creator and > creatures, might better account for God's transcendence and is much more > robustly theistic. Braken's divine matrix, with its structured fields, might > better account for the "en" in panentheism, providing a heuristic for just > how it is that creation is lured, however unobtrusively, to optimal > realization of values as exemplified in God's eminence. > > I am anticipating some resonance between my own value-laden architectonic > and organon and Neville's axiology. However, I do not think I could defend > what appears to be a somewhat arbitrary norm re: a choice of meta-accounts > based on their relative success in grappling with the One and the many. And > I do applaud a retreat into vagueness as an ecumenical and dialogical > strategy and even as a tool for comparative theology. I sense that it could > very well shed some light on pneumatological dynamics. The jury is out, > however, on just how much vagueness should "taken seriously or otherwise > avoided, modified, or set in other contexts" when it comes to building a > systematic theology or grappling with an authentic Christology. Let a

> thousand hypothetical blossoms bloom and fade, I say, without rather > arbitrary eliminative pruning. Let's retreat into vagueness only to return > to clarity when reality thus beckons us forth from Plato's cave. > > I do not know if I made sense to you, but I know what I am trying to say and > will eventually be able to say it better. We do not want our ontologies to > be excessively humble as a result  of our excessive epistemological hubris.  > Any defense of the normative criteria, which we employ in our selections of > one meta-account over another, must be robustly empirical, logical, > practical, moral, aesthetical and relational. It won't be wholly formal or > informal. We do not say this because we have an a priori grasp of epistemic > virtue but only because we have an a posteriori experience of a human > rationality that is non-, pre-, inferentially, super- and trans- rational, > or, in a word, ecological. We are, inescabably, "interested," whether highly > or dis-interested, as interrogators when we pose our interrogatories in our > reality-probing interrogations. And what we probe is evaluative, which is > inextricably intertwined with our descriptive and prescriptive enterprises. > If we were not so radically finite and contingent, there'd be a perfect > symmetry between interrogator and interrogatories in interrogation > processes, obviating all probes. The asymmetry sets us on the > value-realization journey, launches the cosmic adventure. I cannot say why > but so it seems. And so we probe. > > Neville's metaphysics seems too narrow. But I suspect even his own axiology > can successfully defend its broadening (as I project it is much like my > own). It brings to mind a question a friend asked, years ago, when > we were birding: "What's the distance from an epistemology to a worldview?" > At this point in humankind's journey, I have come to believe that that > distance is traversed across aesthetic sensibilities, seeing how there is so > much ambiguity and somewhat of a stalemate, for now, empirically, logically > and practically. And that's my chosen task, to somehow overcome the > ambiguity and break the stalemate. And the next good step seems to be in the > direction of vagueness under a pneumatological impetus. No good Catholic > Christian, worth his salt, is going to lose a wink of sleep wondering > whether or not the eventual return to precision and clarity is going to, in > any way, threaten a truly authentic and most high Christology! > > Not that I'm always worth my salt. The Spheres of Human Concern I like to distinguish between 1) the act of human knowing and 2) the spheres or foci of human concern, or horizons of speculation. These spheres represent progressively broader foci or expanded horizons and interrogate reality with distinctively new questions. These spheres are not logically related but their viewpoints are certainly related intellectually. Each viewpoint depends on new and major presuppositions. We move from narrower (or lower) viewpoints to broader (or higher) viewpoints to deepen our understanding of reality. Because each viewpoint is asking different questions, they are irreducibly distinct from one another. Our Commitments to Our Values Require Risks As we seek a deeper understanding of reality, moving from lower to higher vantage points, expanding our horizons, our novel and major presuppositions represent progressively broader and more risky commitments to what it is we value. For example, if I am looking to augment my realization of truth, beauty, goodness and love, then I will amplify the risks I am willing to take toward this end. This risk amplification entails broadening one's focus of concern, or expanding one's horizon of speculation, as follows. The Amplification of Epistemic Risk Augments the Realization of Human Values The lowest viewpoint is the objective. It is the narrowest focus of human concern and employs the empirical perspective. It is concerned with the evidential, descriptive and positivistic (and relational value?). The empirical perspective amplifies the risk in its commitment to truth, goodness,  beauty and love by broadening its focus to the subjective viewpoint, which employs the rational perspective, which is concerned with the  experiential, logically prescriptive and epistemic (and perspectival value?). The subjective viewpoint, with its rational perspective, then amplifies the risk in its value commitments by broadening its focus to the interobjective viewpoint, with its practical perspective, which is concerned with the  prudential, normative and prudential evaluative (the pragmatic and moral, and extrinsic value?). The practical perspective amplifies its risk in its  commitment to truth, goodness, beauty and love by broadening its focus to the intersubjective viewpoint, with its hermeneutical perspective. The  hermeneutical is concerned with the interpretive or nonprudential evaluative (the aesthetical and relational, and intrinsic value?). Our Viewpoints Employ Distinct Grammars Each perspective contributes to each singular and integral act of human knowing and employs a distinct grammar that corresponds to its particular focus of concern. The objective viewpoint, with its empirical perspective, employs a grammar of falsification and peircean inductive inference. The  subjective viewpoint, with its rational perspective, formally constructed logic and peircean deductive inference.  The interobjective viewpoint, with  its practical perspective, employs a minimalist formalism, which includes reductio arguments (which are otherwise flawed due to ad ignorantium  premises), peircean abductive inference and the pragmatic maxim. It also employs some quasi-inferential capacities such as Polanyi's tacit dimension, Newman's illative sense, Fries' nonintuitive immediate knowledge, which are arguably formal in a minimalist sense. The intersubjetive viewpoint, with its hermeneutical perspective, employs a grammar that is not formally constructed; aesthetically, it employs aesthetical expression,  while relationally, it employs a grammar of trust and assent.     The Lower Viewpoints Constrain the Higher

Each viewpoint, with its new perspective, seeks a progressively broader understanding of reality and raises the whole enterprise of understanding  reality to a new level of generality, a higher viewpoint and perspective. Each viewpoint is valid in its own right, and this realization is precisely the point of distinguishing different viewpoints and employing new grammars. Because human knowing is a singular and integral act that gathers together all of the distinguishable moments of progressively amplified risk-taking ventures in the human pursuit of augmented value-realization, as that epistemic risk venture interestedly interacts with and probes reality, the system of viewpoints necessarily holds together as a whole, which is to say that the validity of lower viewpoints necessarily constrains the validity of higher viewpoints. This hierarchical relationship of the viewpoints, with their various perspectives, does not impute more worth to higher levels, which is a whole other  consideration, but serves merely to properly interrelate them such that the intersubjective and hermeneutical cannot invalidate the interobjective and practical, which in turn can not invalidate the subjective and rational, which cannot invalidate the objective and empirical. The Augmentation of Our Realization of Truth and Its Attendant Risks Risking all for truth, from the objective viewpoint, with its empirical perspective, we might operate from an implicit correspondence theory that gets  articulated, from the subjective viewpoint, with its rational perspective, as an explicit virtue epistemology. From the interobjective viewpoint, with its  practical perspective, we might operate from such as coherence theory. From the intersubjective viewpoint, with its hermeneutical perspective, we might turn to a community of inquiry. One is seeking an augmentation of one's realization of truth by the incremental risk-taking that progresses from mere correspondence to a virtue approach as the descriptive broadens its focus to the prescriptive. Additional risk is involved in, and one's realization of truth can be further augmented by, the broadening of these objective and subjective foci to a more open and flexible interobjective  viewpoint, with a coherence approach, which is a more practical focus. The last risk-taking venture in one's attempt to augment one's realization of truth is the turn of one's focus to a community of inquiry with an intersubjective viewpoint and its hermeneutical perspective. The Augmentation of Our Realization of Beauty and Its Attendant Risks Risking all for beauty, from the objective viewpoint, with its empirical perspective, we experience art as mere mimesis and imitation, which gets expressed, from the subjective viewpoint, with its rational perspective, as formalism and essentialism.  From the interobjective viewpoint, with its  practical perspective, we might view art as instrumental and  as moral agent. From the intersubjective viewpoint, with its hermeneutical  perspective, we might engage art as expressionism and emotionalism. One is seeking an augmentation of one's realization of beauty by the  incremental risk-taking that progresses from a mere mimetic and imitational focus on the aesthetical object to a formalism or essentialism as the descriptive broadens its focus to the prescriptive, specifically, to a more intentional aspect of an aesthetical object. Additional risk is involved in, and one's realization of beauty can be further augmented by, the broadening of these objective and subjective foci to a more open and flexible  instrumentalism and moral agency approach, which is a more practical focus, which takes into account a putative normative aspect of an aesthetical object. The last risk-taking venture in one's realization of beauty is the turn of one's focus to expressionism and emotionalism with an  intersubjective viewpoint and its hermeneutical perspective, which marks a surrender to art for the sake of art, which is to say, to a putative transcendental perspective that views beauty as its own reward. The Augmentation of Our Realization of Goodness and Its Attendant Risks Risking all for goodness, from the objective viewpoint, with its empirical perspective, we might operate from an implicit deontological theory that  gets articulated, from the subjective viewpoint, with its rational perspective, as an explicit virtue ethics. From the interobjective viewpoint, with its practical perspective, we might operate from such as contractarian ethics. From the intersubjective viewpoint, with its hermeneutical perspective, we might turn to teleological ethics. One is seeking an augmentation of one's realization of goodness by the incremental risk-taking that progresses from a mere deontological focus on the act of a moral object to a virtue or aretaic approach as the descriptive broadens its focus to  the prescriptive, specifically, to the intentional aspect of a moral object. Additional risk is involved in, and one's realization of goodness can be  further augmented by, the broadening of these objective and subjective foci to a more open and flexible interobjective viewpoint, with a contractarian approach, which is a more practical focus, which takes into account the circumstantial aspect of a moral object. The last risk-taking venture in one's attempt to augment one's realization of goodness is the turn of one's focus to an intersubjective viewpoint with its teleological  perspective, which marks a surrender to a putative transcendental value.  The Augmentation of Our Realization of Love and Its Attendant Risks Risking all for love, in the bernardian sense, we exhibit love of self for sake of self (or eros) and that gets amplified, in the rational and practical  realms, as love of other for sake of self, or reciprocal altruism (perhaps philia). This grows into the agapic love of other for sake of other, beyond all practical considerations. And finally, unitively, our hermeneutic comes full circle to love of self for sake of other. Once again, there is an augmentation of one's realization of love by the incremental risk-taking that progresses from a mere eros, and focus on oneself,  to an otherinterested philia, which is an enlightened self-interest as one broadens one's focus to others. Additional risk is involved in, and one's commitment  to love can be further augmented by, the broadening of eros and philia to a more robustly-oriented agape, the love of other for sake of other. The last risk-taking venture in one's attempt to augment one's commitment to love is the realization of solidarity and the unitive, in a subliminated storge and authentic I-Thou relationship. The Journey as an Aesthetic Teleology This is the journey of authenticity for all who sojourn through this apparently emergentistic reality we call our universe. And our journey, step by step, is perilous and risk-laden, and any ongoing augmentation of our realization of truth, goodness, beauty and love requires a progressive amplification of risk that plays out in our existential orientations toward these apparently inescapable imperatives by our ongoing intellectual, moral, affective and sociopolitical conversions (cf. Lonergan). And these conversions necessarily entail risks. And these risks have rewards. And we have been told, by the aesthetic teleologists, that the greater the number of bifurcations and permutations that comprise a system, the greater the number of risks involved,  the greater the number of individual threats to that system's stability and the greater its fragility. But the fragile is here  equated with beautiful. The more fragile, the more beautiful. And so it is with truth, goodness and love. Ontological Presuppositions This risk trajectory progressively takes one from a focus on the objective to the subjective to the interobjective to the intersubjective. This account of these foci is primarily epistemological but it does have some implicit ontological presuppositions, at least from a phenomenological perspective. It does commit to a metaphysical realism and a fallibilistic approach to metaphysics. It does commit to a moral realism, if for no other reason, because it affirms an inherent normativity in the integral act of human knowing. The Peircean Connection This hierarchical relationship, patterned after (analogous to) Helminiak's faithful rendering of Lonergan, is anticipated by the peircean aphorism  that the normative sciences mediate between phenomenology and metaphysics.  There is another peircean adage that orthopraxis authenticates 

orthodoxy and there it is, in this above schema, as the practical mediates between the empirico-rational and the hermeneutical. Other Philosophical Schools in Context As far as the major schools of thought and theories for epistemology, aesthetics and ethics, that one will recognize in my schema above, I am not suggesting that these are facilely reconcilable systems. Rather, it seems that, in each sphere of concern, there seems to be a proper emphasis on the objective, subjective, interobjective or intersubjective aspect of  noetical, aesthetical, moral or relational objects (truth, beauty, goodness and love) and that the major theories tend to, improperly, variously overemphasize and underemphasize these aspects and tend to dwell more or less exclusively in one or another of these spheres of concern with respect to those objects. In fact, I am suggesting that the entire human evaluative continuum is properly engaged in each sphere of concern and on all aspects of these noetical, aesthetical, moral and relational objects, even if certain distinguishable moments in the integral act of knowing, or certain distinguishable aspects of the evaluative continuum, do seem to more fully engage this or that aspect of this or that noetical, aesthetical, moral or relational object when the evaluative continuum is engaged in this or that sphere of concern. A Proper Consideration of Faith in the Above-Context With the above scheme as a context, let me now make another distinction that one might encounters regarding the word faith.  Sometimes it appears to be used as a mode of knowledge. At other times, it appears to be used to circumscribe a horizon of speculation or to  specify a particular focus of concern. Justification issues pertain to the first usage, where faith is considered a mode of knowledge. What comprises a worldview or one's ultimate concerns pertains to the broadest focus of one's concern, the furthest horizon of one's speculation. As for modes of knowledge, to me, epistemology is epistemology is epistemology. The act of knowing, in my view, is a singular, integral act. To be sure, it may have many "moments," which would include all of our inferential operations (i.e. abduction, induction and deduction), all of our prudential judgments (i.e. moral and pragmatic), often even our nonprudential evaluations (e.g. our aesthetical sensibilities), our logical and mathematical rationalities, our empirical observations and measurements, our existential warrants, and our implicit and explicit prephilosophical presuppositions (e.g. our unproven first principles, noncontradiction, excluded middle, identity, reality's intelligibility, humankind's intelligence, isomorphicity, belief in other minds and such). None of these moments are fully autonomous but are, rather, mutually interpenetrating. In this sense, then, faith, considered in the first sense, is not an autonomous mode of knowledge but would find its place somewhere in the above list as a moment of knowing (for instance, as an existential warrant or prephilosophucal presupposition or attitude). Any faith, taken as a supposed mode of knowledge, that asserts its autonomy from our other epistemic moments in the otherwise integral act of knowing, is what we would call fideism. This isn't a religious issue, firstly, but a consideration of epistemic virtue. For example, when reason sets itself up as autonomous, we have rationalism. When induction and falsification arrogate autonomy, we have empiricism. A hardcore contextualism in pragmatic fallibilism is relativism. Overemphasis on practical prudential judgment is a pragmatism improperly considered. And so on and so forth. Now, it also seems to me that it is characteristic of this integral act of human knowing-experiencing that, however well or poorly conceived one's epistemological account, the basic integrity of this act remains intact. This is just to observe and suggest that often we remain quite competent in our interactions with reality notwithstanding the quality and accuracy of our accounts for how and why it is we are competent. This is not to deny, as often seems to be the case, that those who couple some rather assiduous and dutiful ascetical practices with erroneous epistemological assumptions might not experience a progressive degeneration of such competence into different types of incompetence, which, in their manifold and multiform expressions have been pejoratively labeled as this or that insidious -ism (as discussed above). As we turn our focus to faith considered in some architectonic of knowledge, as either a horizon of speculation or focus of human concern, these horizons and foci variously narrow and broaden and are situated hierarchically such that the empirical focus, or positivistic horizon, is nested within the rational focus, or philosophic horizon. The rational focus broadens into the practical by virtue of asking additional questions of reality, both moral and practical (the prudential evaluative foci). Beyond this might be nonprudential evaluative foci like aesthetical sensibilities and relational dynamics like trust and assent. It may be that, as we move from focus to focus, or variously extend and retract our horizons, different moments in the act of knowing may be seen operating in sharper relief with their own particular grammars, but these still comprise one integral act. Because of all this, sometimes we end up confusing moments in the act of knowledge with horizons of speculation or foci of concern. It gets more confusing because, if the moments in the act of knowing are not autonomous (and they are not), the foci of concern are indeed autonomous. Further more, the narrower foci enjoy primacy, which is to suggest that the answers reality reveals to our empirical and positivistic probes properly constrain those it might reveal in our rational and philosophic probes. The hierarchical nature of these foci of concern means that, as we expand our horizons and broaden our foci, interrogating reality with new and different questions, answers we get in successive probes of different realms of concern cannot change the answers we have gotten in the narrower foci and more limited horizons. How could they? The questions are totally different. Worldviews & Epistemic Risks When it comes to what we call a worldview, or that focus of concern we call ultimate, then I would suggest that there can be an epistemological parity between different worldviews (and those that are time-honored traditions and/or ideologies and not some caricature thereof).  That horizon of  speculation known as a worldview is the furthest horizon and that focus of concern known as ultimate concern is the broadest of foci. The empirical proofs available to us for much closer horizons, like that of science and methodological naturalism, for much narrower foci, like that of the positivistic (whether through popperian falsification or inductive inference), I would contend are easier to justify and require less epistemic risk. This isn't to say that belief in God lacks empirical support, rational justification, moral prudence, pragmatic significance, aesthetical appeal or existential warrant. It is only to submit that faith is faith. Justification of Beliefs and the “Right” to Believe Now, many folks think justification (what much of the above discussion is about) is an altogether unattainable aim. Not all of these people see it as an illegitimate aim, however. I would first qualify my justification attempt as fallible (unattainable presently, perhaps even in principle) but still useful and reasonable. I would try to account for the empirical observations that are externally congruent with my belief and for the mathematical and logical axioms and rules that are rationally consistent with it (aspiring for consistency rather than completeness). I would set forth the practical concerns that, in part, may have determined my belief, both moral and pragmatic (at the least, maintaining that my act of knowing has an inherent normativity). I would express any aesthetical sensibilities that  impacted my belief and any relational dynamics (like trust, faith, fidelity, assent and such). In short, I'd explain my descriptive, prescriptive and evaluative (both prudential - pragmatic and moral - and nonprudential - aesthetical and relational-) postures, agreeing with Peirce that the normative sciences (logic, aesthetics & ethics) mediate between phenomenology and

metaphysics, however fallibly. I haven't fully reconciled the traditionalist (Popper  & Russell) and pragmatic (Peirce, James & Dewey) views of fallibilism. Abduction, deduction and induction do seem to work together in human inference, so perhaps any robust philosophy of science should have a place for them all, Hume's critique notwithstanding. Perhaps with any worldview our "will to believe" becomes a "right  to believe" if it goes, as I’d say, 'beyond reason,' but also, I would insist, not 'without reason'? What is not empirically observable, rationally demonstrable and practically determinable often seems to get adjudicated by our aesthetical sensibilities and/or by relational dynamics (like those we experience in personal relationships, such as trust, assent, faith, loyalty, etc). If our hermeneutical focus, or our manner of interpreting reality, is ultimately chosen aesthetically and/or relationally, in other words, very much experientially, even then, in my view, this "will to believe" does not entail a "right to believe" unless one's worldview is also empirically congruent, rationally consistent and practically prudent. In other words, radical fundamentalism, of either the Enlightenment or the religious variety, is untenable. And none of this is to say that all of our different worldviews won't remain ineluctably fallible. And, sure, reality remains utterly incomprehensible; however, it  is, at the same time, eminently intelligible. All worldviews, at least for now, remain question-begging, but that is not the same thing as being unintelligible? We can begin to apprehend many realities that we cannot otherwise fully comprehend.  My position remains that none of the major worldviews are yet completely empirically observable, fully logically demonstrable or exhaustively  practically determinable and so are mostly chosen based, not on formal constructions, but, rather, informally, on aesthetical inclinations and  relational machinations, the latter involving a grammar of assent and dynamics akin to those of personal relationships (like trust, for instance). My  proviso is that one must earn the privilege of informally choosing one's worldview by being as empirically congruent, logically consistent and practically prudent as possible as a prerequisite to enjoying such a hermeneutical privilege. It is only in this sense, in my view, that William James'  "Will To Believe" becomes a "Right To Believe."   Practical Considerations I have enjoyed pondering the practical implications of Godel's theorems  over the years, wondering sometimes if Stanley Jaki has made too much of them, epistemologically, or if Hawking had made too little. Peter Suber has surveyed the methods philosophers have used to justify their point of departure or avoid the need to justify it.  My condensed version would be that our metanarratives must either opt for incompleteness, through question begging and tautology, or otherwise fall into circular reference, infinite regress or causal disjunction. We thus choose the paradox that will slay us. My condensed version is not inconsistent with Whitehead's view that all metaphysics is fatally flawed. My version is that all meta-accounts are pregnant with paradox and that my aspiration is to devise an account that  is least likely to multiple birth same. And this is a lot like the contextualism debate in fallibilism, where some see moderate contextualism as uncontroversial whereas others see it as a slippery slope, that moderate contextualists are just radical contextualists with failed imaginations. Of course, one might also hold the view that one needn't prove the truths  of one's axioms in order to see or know their truth (and here we engage our minimalist strategies). One needn't proceeed with Whitehead and Russell, halfway thru the Principia, in order to conclude that 2 + 2 = 4. This is   not to suggest that every riddle of science can be adjudicated so facilely. Sometimes one's choice between interpretations such as Bohm's and Copenhagen, or between Euclidean and Non-Euclidean geometry, is influenced by aesthetic sensibilities, and most efficaciously. If reality is stranger than we can even imagine, presently, and we do not know enough about the unknowable to say that it is unknowable, and if humankind inexorably advances in knowledge, however fallibly, who is to say, at what point, that humanity will not have tripped over the truth about reality's origins and will see the truth of its otherwise unprovable  axioms? And how do we know whether those unproved axioms will even be interesting  or uninteresting, trivial or nontrivial? I suppose I am asking whether any aspect of reality should be occulted in principle? And maybe I am simply drawing a distinction between apprehensibility and comprehensibility, claiming that reality may be incomprehensible because it is eminently intelligible and not, rather, because it is otherwise closed off to us due to either the exigencies that attend to us as knowers or the nature of reality itself. Sometimes, humans try to tell what are, presently, untellable stories. We prove too much. On the other hand, we know more than we can tell. We certainly know more than we can formalize in arguments inasmuch as  knowledge of reality comes from encounters and not syllogisms. So many of our accounts are incommensurable and require renormalization; for instance, we have trouble reconciling our primitives, forces and axioms between such as gravity and quantum mechanics. There may be some merit in Putnam's call for a  moratorium on metaphysics. At the least, we should recognize and acknowledge how far out in front of empirical science we have run each time we choose a root metaphor and push back our speculative horizons, broadening our focus of inquiry. And we should be aware of how far we have outrun the various normative sciences, too, when we are adjudicating this or that riddle of reality. Leap we must. But we best look over our shoulders at the leaps we have made positivistically and philosophically, empirically, rationally, practically and hermeneutically. To any charge of contextualism, yes it is my chosen form of fallibilism and, like pornography, it has both hard-core and soft-core versions, the latter which would agree with Chesterton that we do not  know enough about the unknown to claim that it is unknowable. I would thus  also addend Haldane's statement that reality is not only stranger than we imagine but stranger than we can imagine with "at least for now." It is one thing to a priori rule out the possibility of first principles and another to recognize that the search for same is a tad problematical.  All the above notwithstanding, one should be familiar with The Krueger-McHugh Debate: Theism or Atheism . McHugh takes a modal ontological argument (like Godel and Hartshorne and others) and uses a strategy for consistency-guaranteed concepts (for disambiguation in formal argumentation) as advocated by the atheistic philosopher, Richard Gale. To guarantee the conceptual compatibility of the terms employed in the argument, they are predicated apophatically, which simply means to cast any properties in negative terms. The argument is widely considered valid. The premises usually are called into question on the basis of ambiguities latent in the terms. The chief criticism Krueger levies is that the resulting God-concept is unrecognizable to the average believer. It is not unrecognizable, however, to those in the contemplative tradition, who are familiar with the works of John of the Cross, or such as The Cloud of Unknowing, or even the early church fathers in the neoplatonic, Dionysian tradition. I always wondered why Godel, of all people, would try to transcend his own theorems with such a formal proof, and I would suppose he was just trying to devise a compelling reductio ad absurdum, the premises of which would be difficult to coherently throw into question without undermining common sense, cannibalizing human intelligence and doubting the very intelligibility of reality. His proof would be offering a truth one could "taste and see" even without proving its axioms. Following the notion that orthopraxis authenticates orthodoxy, I have been mulling over the practical implications of my system.   Accepting the following hierarchy, for arguments sake, as consistent, in part, with Helminiak:   1) Empirical 2) Normative

 a) logical  b) practical  c) hermeneutical 3) Theistic 4) Theotic   What seems to be going on is this:   1) Empirical 2) Philosophical  a) logical  b) practical  c) hermeneutical 3) Metaphysical 4) Existential   Those are the broadening foci of human concern, more "broadly" conceived.   They could also be labeled as follows:   1) Phenomenology 2) Normative Sciences  a) logical  b) practical  c) hermeneutical 3) Metaphysical 4) Existential   This thus comports with the Peircean notion that the normative sciences mediate between phenomenology and metaphysics. In effect, probabilities (3ness) are mediating between actualities (2ness) and possibilities (1ness). Both logical and modal vagueness are already at work.   The more broadly conceived theotic dimension recognizes that all humans are making an existential response vis a vis their ultimate concerns. Implicit in the interplay of our progressively broadening foci of concern are various invitations, by reality, toward intellectual, affective, moral,  sociopolitical and religious conversions, each transvaluing the others. Lonergans imperatives are at work.   Of course, it is true that, in the existential realm, the theotic focus for the Christian, it will make all the difference in the world, as to how one responds to these invitations, if one buys into this or that notion that a) we are being divinized (analogously of course) b) we are already God (pantheistically, advaitan) c) there is no God d) etc And I think this is Helminiak's point re: theosis as distinctly Christian. And maybe this is Lonergan's point re: explicit faith and Gelpi's thrust, too. Certainly, the content of one's explicit faith will have a transvaluing effect on our other conversion experiences. But maybe this is only to suggest that what we believe about any aspect of the human journey of progressively broader foci of concern will have a transvaluing effect, one focus on all the other foci. For example, erroneous metaphysical assumptions caused science to be stillborn in many cultures (Stanley Jaki). The journey, properly considered, is indeed one of authenticity.   I like to draw a soteriological distinction between a) what must we do to be saved and b) what can we do to give God the greatest possible glory. Insofar as I largely conceive of the journey in terms of an aesthetic teleology, both for me and for the cosmos, the Jesuit motto --- ad majorem Dei gloriam [AMDG], is close to my heart. In fact, that soteriological distinction is really the same as that drawn by Ignatius in the Spiritual Exercises, where he sets forth his Degrees of Humility. In a nutshell, my rough paraphrasing: 1) we wouldn't want to ever offend God grievously 2) we wouldn't ever want to offend God even venially 3) not only would we never want to offend God in the least, we truly want to even imitate Christ even in His manner of suffering.   Truth be known, in my heterodoxy, I believe in apopkatastasis, or universal salvation, with some nuance. I allow for the theoretical possibility of eternal separation from God only because I believe that God so loves us and respects our free will (which is indispensable for authentic love) that God would never coerce us into a relationship. At the same time, from a practical perspective, God's love and seductive appeal is so very efficacious, it is difficult for me to conceive of anyone holding out forever.   Let me backtrack and then return full circle.   Per Kant, there are some distinctly different questions being asked by the different normative sciences. In my system, those questions a framed up as follows:   1) Phenomenology - Is that a fact? 2) Normative Sciences  a) logical - What can I know? truth  b) practical - What must I do? goodness  c) hermeneutical - i) What can I hope for? beauty (aesthetical) and ii) Whom can I trust regarding what I can hope for? love (relational) 3) Metaphysical - Our systematic relating of our transcendental values: truth, goodness, beauty and love. 4) Existential - The acts of fundamental trust and mistrust and distrust of uncertain reality and the responses that ensue.   For example:   3) Metaphysical - Our systematic relating of our transcendental values: truth, goodness, beauty and love.   or   3) Theistic - creed, code, cult and community   What is it then that the great traditions bring to humanity's table? What is the distinct purview of religion?   It is not: Is that a fact? However, it better comport with the facts and is properly constrained by the answers science yields in that narrowest of foci of human concern.

  It is not: What can I know? However, it must defer to epistemology as a normative science.   I'm going to go out on a limb and observe that it is not even about: What must I do? Neither morally nor pragmatically. These prudential evaluative questions that pertain to extrinsic values have already been served at humanity's banquet of values before any distinctly religious questions emerge, which I maintain are in the next focus of concern. These extrinsic values will certainly get transvalued by one's metaphysical outlooks and existential responses, which is to recognize that they will have more (or less) meaning added to them and may get reweighted and reprioritized based on the answers we get to What can I hope for?  and Whom can I trust regarding what I can hope for?   Religion has no more special competency in answering the What must I do? question than it does responding to What can I know? or Is that a fact? It, again, must defer to the normative sciences.   This is a radical break from such a tradition as would maintain that it is authoritative regarding both faith and morals. Let me borrow from another piece of correspondence:   Well, recall the schema I have set out previously, wherein religion doesn't bring anything to humanity's table until we widen our focus to 1) What can we hope for? and 2) In whom can we trust with that answer?   In this scehma, the role an earthly authority or institution would have is in spreading and celebrating the Good News, which would transvalue (add  meaning and weight and possibly prioritization to) life's other foci of concern, like the moral and pragmatic, for example. It would remain constrained by the "findings" of those other foci, which is to say in the case of morality, for example, that it would not be able to change the general precepts of morality that are already self-evident to humanity. In a nutshell, again, religion would not be in the business of manufacturing morality and does not possess a special competence or authority to tell us how to behave toward one another, how to analyze moral objects.   Now, this act of dispossessing religion of moral authority would seem to run counter to the apparent claims of my own tradition where the magisterium does maintain a certain type of authority and which asks for a certain type of obedience in these regards. As you might suspect, I will again draw some distinctions. The Latin word for obdience is obsequium and there are 1) obsequium voluntatis, which pertains to practical matters and 2) obsequium intellectus, which pertains to theoretical matters. Further, there are, within those categories, 1) obsequium fidei, which involves ther essentials of the faith, which address a) what we can hope for and b) whom we can trust with our hopes, and 2) obsequium religiosum, which entails being one with the searching church in seeking and moving toward further clarification and understanding of certain other realities (like moral realities, for example).   The reason these distinctions are meaningful lies in the type of respnse they call for. As for the essentials of the faith, the obsequium fidei calls for assent. It would be silly to dissent from the essentials of a worldview and still call oneself a certain type of believer. Obsequium religiosum calls for deference and respect, which is to say that, regarding  moral matters in particular, one is to give due and serious consideration to church  teachings pertaining thereto, both in forming one's conscience and in any deliberation over any given moral object, but giving primacy to one's conscience in the end. One can dissent from obsequium religiosum and, per church teaching, sometimes is obliged to dissent.   Don't get me wrong. What I hold to here is highly controversial stuff that divides progressives and conservatives in the tradition. And the magisterium does claim a special competence, which I say it does not have. At the same time, and isn't this curious, the magisterium has only invoked infallibility on matters of the faith, the obsequium fidei, but never has claimed same for any moral teachings, obsequium religiosum. At the theoretical level, they seem to be with the conservatives. On the practical level, one wonders if they "get it" regarding what I am maintaining?   End of excerpt from jb's correspondence   Now, returning full circle to this:   I like to draw a soteriological distinction between a) what must we do to be saved and b) what can we do to give God the greatest possible glory. Insofar as I largely conceive of the journey in terms of an aesthetic teleology, both for me and for the cosmos, the Jesuit motto --- ad majorem Dei gloriam [AMDG], is close to my heart. In fact, that soteriological distinction is really the same as that drawn by Ignatius in the Spiritual Exercises, where he sets forth his Degrees of Humility. In a nutshell, my rough paraphrasing: 1) we wouldn't want to ever offend God grievously 2) we wouldn't ever want to offend God even venially 3) not only would we never want to offend God in the least, we truly want to even imitate Christ even in His manner of suffering.   Truth be known, in my heterodoxy, I believe in apopkatastasis, or universal salvation, with some nuance. I allow for the theoretical possibility of eternal separation from God only because I believe that God so loves us and respects our free will (which is indispensable for authentic love) that God would never coerce us into a relationship. At the same time, from a practical perspective, God's love and seductive appeal is so very efficacious, it is difficult for me to conceive of anyone holding out forever.   I think it is apparent how these themes interweave. The answers to What must I do? and What must I do to be saved? have already been giving  humankind before religion arrives on the scene. All men of goodwill are already in touch with the law written on every person's heart and in a position "to be saved" even without being imputed invincible ignorance, even without being considered Christians, anonymous or not. God so loved the world that soteriological issues have already been settled. This is a pneumatological truth many already recognize, hidden though it may be by various theospeak obfuscations.   Back to my soteriological distinction, from a practical perspective, what religions bring to humanity's table are answers to such questions as What can we do to give God the greatest possible glory? and prescriptions for such as imitating Christ. Religions speak with authority to what it is we can hope for. And their coin of the realm is not the propositional truth of the theoretical, heuristic and normative sciences, which rely most heavily on inferential aspects of our integral act of knowing (although religion must properly defer to the answers we get in those foci of concern). The coin of the religious realm is that of truth in relationship, which includes assent, deference (obsequium), trust, fidelity, loyalty, love, forgiveness and such. The values to be augmented and realized in this realm as we amplify the epistemic risks we are willing to take are intrinsic and our commitments to them are unconditional and do not lend themselves to formal construction. Intrinsic values involve a different calculus than extrinsic, perspectival and relational values. The beauty is ineffable and infuses all of the other foci of human concern with such a significance as can only properly be considered tran-significantly and only celebrated ritualistically as transignification and Eucharist. Hesrt speaks to heart. And the heart has its reasons.   And I say all this by way of suggesting that, in affirming right speech, in searching for the most nearly perfect articulation of the truth, toward the end of AMDG, I positively affirm a normative Christology. This is the locus at which it comes to play regarding both what we can hope for and Whom we can trust with such answers. But AMDG and right speech re: our hopes are not soteriological issues. For distinctly soteriological issues, I must

affirm, rather, a normative pneumatology.  Thus Ignatius' Degrees of Humility set forth rather substantive distinctions.     END OF REWRITE – BEGINNING OF NOTES I have enjoyed pondering the practical implications of Godel's theorems  over the years, wondering sometimes if Stanley Jaki has made too much of them, epistemologically, or if Hawking had made too little. Peter Suber has surveyed the methods philosophers have used to justify their point of departure or avoid the need to justify it.  My condensed version would be that our metanarratives must either opt for incompleteness, through question begging and tautology, or otherwise fall into circular reference, infinite regress or causal disjunction. We thus choose the paradox that will slay us. My condensed version is not inconsistent with Whitehead's view that all metaphysics is fatally flawed. My version is that all meta-accounts are pregnant with paradox and that my aspiration is to devise an account that  is least likely to multiple birth same. And this is a lot like the contextualism debate in fallibilism, where some see moderate contextualism as uncontroversial whereas others see it as a slippery slope, that moderate contextualists are just radical contextualists with failed imaginations. Of course, one might also hold the view that one needn't prove the truths  of one's axioms in order to see or know their truth (and here we engage our minimalist strategies). One needn't proceeed with Whitehead and Russell, halfway thru the Principia, in order to conclude that 2 + 2 = 4. This is   not to suggest that every riddle of science can be adjudicated so facilely. Sometimes one's choice between interpretations such as Bohm's and Copenhagen, or between Euclidean and Non-Euclidean geometry, is influenced by aesthetic sensibilities, and most efficaciously. If reality is stranger than we can even imagine, presently, and we do not know enough about the unknowable to say that it is unknowable, and if humankind inexorably advances in knowledge, however fallibly, who is to say, at what point, that humanity will not have tripped over the truth about reality's origins and will see the truth of its otherwise unprovable  axioms? And how do we know whether those unproved axioms will even be interesting  or uninteresting, trivial or nontrivial? I suppose I am asking whether any aspect of reality should be occulted in principle? And maybe I am simply drawing a distinction between apprehensibility and comprehensibility, claiming that reality may be incomprehensible because it is eminently intelligible and not, rather, because it is otherwise closed off to us due to either the exigencies that attend to us as knowers or the nature of reality itself. Sometimes, humans try to tell what are, presently, untellable stories. We prove too much. On the other hand, we know more than we can tell. We certainly know more than we can formalize in arguments inasmuch as  knowledge of reality comes from encounters and not syllogisms. So many of our accounts are incommensurable and require renormalization; for instance, we have trouble reconciling our primitives, forces and axioms between such as gravity and quantum mechanics. There may be some merit in Putnam's call for a  moratorium on metaphysics. At the least, we should recognize and acknowledge how far out in front of empirical science we have run each time we choose a root metaphor and push back our speculative horizons, broadening our focus of inquiry. And we should be aware of how far we have outrun the various normative sciences, too, when we are adjudicating this or that riddle of reality. Leap we must. But we best look over our shoulders at the leaps we have made positivistically and philosophically, empirically, rationally, practically and hermeneutically. To any charge of contextualism, yes it is my chosen form of fallibilism and, like pornography, it has both hard-core and soft-core versions, the latter which would agree with Chesterton that we do not  know enough about the unknown to claim that it is unknowable. I would thus  also addend Haldane's statement that reality is not only stranger than we imagine but stranger than we can imagine with "at least for now." It is one thing to a priori rule out the possibility of first principles and another to recognize that the search for same is a tad problematical. Many folks think justification is an unattainable aim. Not all of these people see it as an illegitimate aim, however. I would first qualify my justification attempt as fallible (unattainable presently, perhaps even in principle) but still useful and reasonable. I would try to account for the empirical observations that are externally congruent with my belief and for the mathematical and logical axioms and rules that are rationally consistent with it (aspiring for consistency rather than completeness). I would set forth the practical concerns that, in part, may have determined my belief, both moral and pragmatic (at the least, maintaining that my act of knowing has an inherent normativity). I would express any aesthetical sensibilities that   impacted my belief and any relational dynamics (like trust, faith, fidelity, assent and such). In short, I'd explain my descriptive, prescriptive and evaluative (both prudential - pragmatic and moral - and nonprudential - aesthetical and relational-) postures, agreeing with Peirce that the normative sciences (logic, aesthetics & ethics) mediate between phenomenology and metaphysics, however fallibly. I haven't fully reconciled the traditionalist (Popper  & Russell) and pragmatic (Peirce, James & Dewey) views of fallibilism. Abduction, deduction and induction do seem to work together in human inference, so perhaps any robust philosophy of science should have a place for them all, Hume's critique notwithstanding. Perhaps with any worldview our "will to believe" becomes a "right  to believe" if it goes, as I’d say, 'beyond reason,' but also, I would insist, not 'without reason'? What is not empirically observable, rationally demonstrable and practically determinable often seems to get adjudicated by our aesthetical sensibilities and/or by relational dynamics (like those we experience in personal relationships, such as trust, assent, faith, loyalty, etc). If our hermeneutical focus, or our manner of interpreting reality, is ultimately chosen aesthetically and/or relationally, iow, very much experientially, even then, in my view, this "will to believe" does not entail a "right to believe" unless one's worldview is also empirically congruent, rationally consistent and practically prudent. In other words, radical fundamentalism, of either the Enlightenment or the religious variety, is untenable. And none of this is to say that all of our different worldviews won't remain ineluctably fallible. And, sure, reality remains utterly incomprehensible; however, it  is, at the same time, eminently intelligible. All worldviews, at least for now, remain question-begging, but that is not the same thing as being unintelligible? We can begin to apprehend many realities that we cannot otherwise fully comprehend. A correspondent wrote: That we can't prove the existence of God through empirical means as good as any other empirical proof I completely disagree with --If by any other empirical proof one means by that any other empirical proof of that horizon of speculation that we call a worldview or that focus of concern we call ultimate, then I would agree that there can be an epistemological parity between different worldviews (and those that are timehonored traditions and/or ideologies and not some caricature thereof). That horizon of speculation known as a worldview is the furthest horizon and that focus of concern known as ultimate concern is the broadest of foci. The empirical proofs available to us for much closer horizons, like that of science and methodological naturalism, for much narrower foci, like that of the positivistic, whether through popperian falsification or inductive inference, I would contend are easier to justify and require less epistemic risk. This isn't to say that belief in God lacks empirical support, rational justification, moral prudence, pragmatic significance, aesthetical appeal or existential warrant. It is only to submit that faith is faith. All that notwithstanding, one should be familiar with The Krueger-McHugh Debate: Theism or Atheism . McHugh takes a modal ontological argument (like Godel and Hartshorne and others) and uses a strategy for consistency-guaranteed concepts (for disambiguation in formal argumentation) as advocated by the atheistic philosopher, Richard Gale. To guarantee the conceptual compatibility of the terms employed in the argument, they are predicated apophatically, which simply means to cast any properties in negative terms. The argument is widely considered

valid. The premises usually are called into question on the basis of ambiguities latent in the terms. The chief criticism Krueger levies is that the resulting God-concept is unrecognizable to the average believer. It is not unrecognizable, however, to those in the contemplative tradition, who are familiar with the works of John of the Cross, or such as The Cloud of Unknowing, or even the early church fathers in the neoplatonic, Dionysian tradition. I always wondered why Godel, of all people, would try to transcend his own theorems with such a formal proof, and I would suppose he was just trying to devise a compelling reductio ad absurdum, the premises of which would be difficult to coherently throw into question without undermining common sense, cannibalizing human intelligence and doubting the very intelligibility of reality. His proof would be offering a truth one could "taste and see" even without proving its axioms. Ontological vagueness might be a good strategy for advancing a modal argument that is more compelling, which is to say one might change the category of necessary to probable. There is another distinction one encounters regarding the word faith, itself. Sometimes it appears to be used as a mode of knowledge. At other times, it appears to be used to circumscribe a horizon of speculation or to specify a particular focus of concern. Justification issues pertain to the first usage, where faith is considered a mode of knowledge. What comprises a worldview or one's ultimate concerns pertains to the broadest focus of one's concern, the furthest horizon of one's speculation. As for modes of knowledge, to me, epistemology is epistemology is epistemology. The act of knowing, in my view, is a singular, integral act. To be sure, it may have many "moments," which would include all of our inferential operations (i.e. abduction, induction and deduction), all of our prudential judgments (i.e. moral and pragmatic), often even our nonprudential evaluations (e.g. our aesthetical sensibilities), our logical and mathematical rationalities, our empirical observations and measurements, our existential warrants, and our implicit and explicit prephilosophical presuppositions (e.g. our unproven first principles, noncontradiction, excluded middle, identity, reality's intelligibility, humankind's intelligence, isomorphicity, belief in other minds and such). None of these moments are fully autonomous but are, rather, mutually interpenetrating. In this sense, then, faith, considered in the first sense, is not an autonomous mode of knowledge but would find its place somewhere in the above list as a moment of knowing. Any faith, taken as a supposed mode of knowledge, that asserts its autonomy from our other epistemic moments in the otherwise integral act of knowing, is what we would call fideism. This isn't a religious issue, firstly, but a consideration of epistemic virtue. For example, when reason sets itself up as autonomous, we have rationalism. When induction and falsification arrogate autonomy, we have empiricism. A hardcore contextualism in pragmatic fallibilism is relativism. Overemphasis on practical prudential judgment is a pragmatism improperly considered. And so on and so forth. As we turn our focus to faith considered in some architectonic of knowledge, as either a horizon of speculation or focus of human concern, these horizons and foci variously narrow and broaden and are situated hierarchically such that the empirical focus, or positivistic horizon, is nested within the rational focus, or philosophic horizon. The rational focus broadens into the practical by virtue of asking additional questions of reality, both moral and practical (the prudential evaluative foci). Beyond this might be nonprudential evaluative foci like aesthetical sensibilities and relational dynamics like trust and assent. It may be that, as we move from focus to focus, or variously extend and retract our horizons, different moments in the act of knowing may be seen operating in sharper relief with their own particular grammars, but these still comprise one integral act. Because of all this, sometimes we end up confusing moments in the act of knowledge with horizons of speculation or foci of concern. It gets more confusing because, if the moments in the act of knowing are not autonomous (and they are not), the foci of concern are indeed autonomous. Further more, the narrower foci enjoy primacy, which is to suggest that the answers reality reveals to our empirical and positivistic probes properly constrain those it might reveal in our rational and philosophic probes. The hierarchical nature of these foci of concern means that, as we expand our horizons and broaden our foci, interrogating reality with new and different questions, answers we get in successive probes of different realms of concern cannot change the answers we have gotten in the narrower foci and more limited horizons. How could they? The questions are totally different. My position remains that none of the major worldviews are yet completely empirically observable, fully logically demonstrable or exhaustively  practically determinable and so are mostly chosen based, not on formal constructions, but, rather, informally, on aesthetical inclinations and  relational machinations, the latter involving a grammar of assent and dynamics akin to those of personal relationships (like trust, for instance). My  proviso is that one must earn the privilege of informally choosing one's worldview by being as empirically congruent, logically consistent and practically prudent as possible as a prerequisite to enjoying such a hermeneutical privilege. It is only in this sense, in my view, that William James'  "Will To Believe" becomes a "Right To Believe."   Now, it also seems to me that it is characteristic of this integral act of human knowing-experiencing that, however well or poorly conceived one's epistemological account, the basic integrity of this act remains intact. This is just to observe and suggest that often we remain quite competent in our interactions with reality notwithstanding the quality and accuracy of our accounts for how and why it is we are competent. This is not to deny, as often seems to be the case, that those who couple some rather assiduous and dutiful ascetical practices with erroneous epistemological assumptions might not experience a progressive degeneration of such competence into different types of incompetence, which, in their manifold and multiform expressions have been pejoratively labeled as this or that insidious -ism.  
Often it seems to me that, when it comes to epistemology, if we can get the descriptive aspect right, then we will have its prescriptive aspect there in front of us. Put simply, if we know how we know, such as by "justified true belief" or what have you, then we will know what we must do in order to know with a higher level of confidence. If one considers some of the issues that have been raised in the philosophy of science, one can see this dynamic at play. Not all advances in the epistemology of science came from armchair philosophy's analysis of induction and falsification. Some came from asking the question: What's really going on here when advances are made and paradigm shifts are accomplished? What's really going on in a Sherlock Holmes mystery? In considering those issues, one at first sees the philosophers of science and detective casework overemphasizing, on one hand, the empirical proof of induction, on the other hand, the rational operation of deduction. The reason I introduce Peirce and the pragmatist tradition is that he properly, in my view, elucidated the role of abduction and described how human knowing is a dance between these three types of inference. Though our inferential powers do weaken as we go from deduction to induction to the weakest, abduction, still, they all play an indispensable role. Now, going back to what Putnam was doing. In my view, Putnam was looking at the way the law really works, not treating any theory per se. He was basically suggesting that the legal system, in any given case, is not solving a problem conclusively but is adjudicating a dispute wisely. And I don't think he was so much emphasizing this over against any element of legal theory as much as he was describing, like Peirce did re: science, what actually seems to be going on when we engage the law. And Putnam was extrapolating his description of the legal system, in particular, into a prescription for epistemology, in general. The fundamental question for epistemologists and legal professionals might then be: What does one do when one does not have an open and shut case? How do we handle ambiguous evidence and fallible witnesses?

Now, the legal system cannot afford the luxury of the radical skeptics and nihilists and radically deconstructive postmodernists, who throw up their hands and walk away with their excessive epistemic humility. And it cannot really even operate by importing a hard core contextualism. It is surely grounded in morality at some level but emerges from a higher level called politics, which employs the art of the possible. It has decisions to render and behaviors to interdict. It adjudicates. As William James observed about life in general, when it comes to justifying belief, sometimes our options are of the forced, living, and momentous kind. That applies to the law? More problematical, perhaps, is determining where morality itself is grounded even if we claim to have grounded the legal system in politics, which is grounded in morality. But it has always seemed to me, with respect to the law, that long before we consider metaethical approaches and evaluate them as aretaic/virtue, deontological or teleological/consequentialist, we encounter another pressing concern. That concern is the issue of power. If one thinks about the "ontological structure" of law making, law enforcement, court systems and law practice, it becomes obvious real quickly that not all of these structures --whether lawyer, plaintiff, prosecutor, defendant, state law, military code, supreme court, congress, attorney general --- are equally invested with power. How does one strike the proper balance of power to ensure that justice flows freely to all? I'll close with a thought about metaethics. We might consider Putnam's approach to describing the law and prescribing epistemology, or Peirce's approach to describing abduction or hypothesizing and prescribing his triadic epistemology of the three forms of inference. By that, I mean we might ask ourselves how most people seem to reason their way to a moral conclusion. Who looks only at the consequences and circumstances, like the teleologists? Who considers only the character and intentions of the moral agent, like the virtue ethicist? Who considers the act isolated from the agent's intentions and the consequences, like the deontologists? Especially in the law, both in its codification and in its prosecution, we are very interested in 1) act (misdemeanor, felony, violation) 2) intentions (motive, mental state) and 3) circumstances (damages, just for example; or societal implications).

 
I have recently focused my philosophical interests on the Holy Spirit. Specifically, I want to explore whether or not a strictly pneumatological approach  might be used to advance interreligious dialogue (a thesis advanced by Amos Yong). For me, this involves taking a step back from a metaphysical perspective to a phenomenological point of view and taking a step back from a Christological perspective to a pneumatological point of view. As any of us prescind from the metaphysical and Christological to the phenomenological and pneumatological, we might avoid what have been intractable dialogical impasses without, at the same time, abandoning our different faith outlooks. I try to describe, below, the philosophical and metaphysical aspects of this endeavor and attempt an architectonic that is analogous (but not entirely faithful) to Daniel Helminiak’s lonerganian account of the human foci of concern. In some sense, I intend it as entirely hypothetically consonant with Helminiak’s viewpoints, which are the positivistic, philosophic, theistic and theotic. In my quadratic foci of concern, the empirical corresponds to the positivistic and the rational, practical and hermeneutical correspond to the philosophic, which only takes one to the threshold of the theistic. Hence, I am not really treating the theistic and theotic but have simply further explicated the philosophic, as I approach same.

  What I am trying to do is look only at: 1) the peircean triadic semeiotic 2) semantical, epistemic and ontological vagueness, in general 3) peircean logical and modal vagueness, in particular 4) the gelpian evaluative continuum 5) the lonerganian conversions 6) objective, subjective, interobjective and intersubjective aspects of noetical, aesthetical, ethical and relational realities.   Then, relying on the distinction between reference and description, naming certain referents, which would be implicit in 1-6 above-listed. I am thinking those referents would be, among others: 7) a metaphysical realism - abduction of metaphysical reality 8) a moral realism - abduction of moral reality 9) a theistic realism - abduction of the Reality of God   And, again, the idea would be that we could truthfully refer to these realities apart from any concern of truthfully describing them, although we have an inchoate description of these realities that is implicit in the philosophical implications of 1-6 above.   Our value-laden, risk-taking adventure (amplification of biases toward the augmentation of values) calls forth a role for paraklesis, which invokes the reality of parakletos and such a theistic realism as would invoke (or, more accurately, reference) a Parakletos.   I am trying, then, to describe the abduction of the Reality of the Holy Spirit, as a pneumatological heuristic for interreligious dialogue, just an inchoate reference and not at all a dogmatic description. This requires a properly considered theological anthropology, a Goldilocks anthropology, not too optimistic, not too pessimistic, but “just right.” It has room for a consideration of the successful institutionalization of conversion, grace as transmuted experience and the authentication of orthodoxy by orthopraxis. It does not claim that people spontaneously long for the beatific vision, so to speak, but does suggest that there is a risk-trajectory we learn to pursue toward the end of augmenting our realization of our values.   To wit:   What interests me most hasn't really been any metaphysic, in particular, but metaphysics, in general. And, in some sense, it hasn't even been metaphysics but epistemology.   I am grappling with notions of vagueness - semantical, epistemic and ontological. And I am wanting to involve, in all of this, the distinction between a successful reference to a reality and a successful description of a reality. I want to say that it is one thing to fix a referent and another to describe a referent.  It seems that the peircean approach to vagueness, re: both logical and modal propositions, can speak to these  issues.   It seems that before we even consider an ontological description of a reality, that we can truthfully refer to a reality, and that these references come from philosophical presuppositions that are implicit in one's epistemology. For instance, the very possibility of "doing" epistemology, in most systems, implies a commitment to metaphysical realism. Because epistemology has an inherent normativity, which allows those who "do" epistemology to argue about it, a moral realism is implied. If one then justifies one's fundamental trust in uncertain reality (following Kung), then a theistic realism vis a vis the abduction of the Reality of God is implied.   These affirmations of metaphysical, moral and theistic realisms serve to fix their referents without aspiring to describe these realities. Our references to these realities place us on the threshold of further describing these realities. Our epistemology places us on the threshold of ontology. And reality is already value-laden at this point. And the gelpian human evaluative continuum further explicates these values. And  lonerganian conversions speak to the mode of their attainment. And the risk-taking nature of the human journey to authenticity seems to recapitulate the emergentistic journey of the cosmos with its own amplified biases that are all eventually ordered toward  the augmentation of  truth, beauty, goodness and love. And we are looking at Causes and knowing them by their effects, successfully making a reference to them even if not successfully describing them. And One such cause is the Holy Spirit. And He is something I think we can refer to in interreligious dialogue before we even bother to say something about Him.

In aristotelian terms, a Cause (the Holy Spirit) is being known by His effects (our encouragement).  In semeiotic terms, a Transignifier is effecting meaning beyond what we can realize through mere triadic semeiosis, which is to say, through  such a paraklesis as apparently transcends what is otherwise realizable by any describable parakletos known to us. Hence, we refer to an undescribable Parakletos. Our risk-taking, in the pursuit of amplified values, then exceeds what can otherwise be supported by our mere empirical, rational and practical considerations but NOT in a manner that, in any way, invalidates those perspectives.  This paragraph, below, is the "pre-philosopher's" stone that gifts us with a lingua franca for interideological and interreligious dialogue. This is to suggest that we can all prescind from any metaphysic that ambitions a true description of our encounters with reality to  a phenomenology that aspires only to truthfully reference reality, however vague. Such a "bracketing" of one's metaphysic can be fruitful  in dialogue because, without involving any abandonment of one's position, it turns one's focus to preambular first principles, one's own and  others'. Without basic agreement at this level, there can only be a talking past one another, anyway (unlike at Pentecost). Each viewpoint or perspective has its own modal emphasis, which is to suggest that the empirical, rational, practical and hermeneutical probe reality ontologically to return, respectively, actualities, possibilities, probabilities and necessities, the first three being peircean categories (of ontological vagueness) and the last being transcendental. Another way of describing their grammar is that of semeiotic vagueness where, for actualities, noncontradiction and excluded middle hold; for possibilities, noncontradiction folds and excluded middle holds; and for probabilities, noncontradiction holds but excluded middle folds. Hence the empirical can fruitfully employ falsification; the rational can explore logical possibilities; and the practical attempts to narrow them down to probabilities albeit constrained by a minimalist formalism that employs the weakest of inferences. Any talk of necessities transcends the peircian triadic semeiotic and one must then fall back on one's aesthetical inclinations and fundamental trust in uncertain reality, whether justified or unjustified, in order to further augment, through additional risk-taking, one's commitment to and realization of truth, goodness, beauty and love.  This next paragraph is the pneumatological touchstone for interreligous dialogue (and for missiology) because this risk dynamism robustly evokes a role for paraklesis (encouragement): Whatever terminology one employs in a consideration of the integral act of human knowing, this act entails distinguishable moments of risktaking in one's commitment to truth, goodness, beauty and love. Shifts from lower to higher viewpoints are then driven by an existential  orientation toward a progressively augmented human authenticity, which entails progressively risky commitments to truth, goodness, beauty and love. The distinguishable moments of risk-taking in one's commitment to truth, goodness, beauty and love correspond to  Lonergan's secular conversions, respectively, as intellectual, moral, affective and social (or sociopolitical). These conversions, properly considered, are value-laden,  risk-taking ventures and the human pursuit of authenticity can be conceived as the willingness and courage to, ultimately, risk all in exchange for progressively augmented truth, goodness, beauty and love. And, finally,  to the extent that paraklesis invokes a parakletos, any theistic realism would then reference a Parakletos (such reference distinct from a description) . The risk trajectory progressively takes one from a focus on the objective to the subjective to the interobjective to the intersubjective (haecceity). This account of these foci is primarily epistemological but it does have some implicit philosophical presuppositions, at least from a phenomenological perspective: 1) It does commit to a metaphysical realism and a fallibilistic approach to metaphysics. This might include, for instance, a commitment to First Principles (noncontradiction, excluded middle – albeit qualifiedly); a belief in other minds over against solipsism; a belief in reality’s intelligibility and humankind’s intelligence; a commitment to common sense notions of causation; and other such prephilosophical presuppositions; 2) It does commit to a moral realism, if for no other reason, because it affirms an inherent normativity in the integral act of human knowing. 3) If, in one's consideration of necessities, one has then risked a  justified, fundamental trust in uncertain reality vis a vis one's commitment to and realization of truth, goodness, beauty and love, then one  has, however inchoately, further committed to an abduction of the Reality of God.  The above-listed implicit philosophical presuppositions affirming metaphysical, moral and theistic realisms express relational realities. One can successfully reference these realities, hermeneutically, apart from any concern regarding the possibility of offering descriptions of them.
Janet Soskice makes the point well: "To be a realist about the referent is to be a fallibilist about knowledge of the referent ... So the theist may be mistaken in his beliefs about the source and cause of all ... for fixing a referent does not on this account guarantee that the referent meets a particular description." pg. 17 Christopher Mooney _Theology and Scientific Knowledge_ God is not, of course, an object in space and time nor is he, for that matter, an object "outside" of space and time (whatever that would mean). Nevertheless, if God is not a figment of our imagination, if it is truly "in relation" to his incomprehensible mystery that we, and all things, exist and have their being, then, in our worship of God, our address to God, we may (and do) make mention of him. Except, therefore, on a purely expressivist account of our use of the term, such mention as we make of God in worship has cognitive implications: it entails the conviction that there is something that we can truly say "about" God. In other words, even if the "nature" of God is unknown to us, because we cannot understand God, cannot grasp him in concept or image, cannot render his mystery comprehensible, we may perhaps, nevertheless, in relation to him, living in his presence and responding to his address, successfully refer to God, make true mention of him. ... It therefore follows, from this distinction between reference and description, that not all questions concerning the possibility of true speech about God are questions concerning the possibility of offering true descriptions of God. pg. 257 Nicholas Lash, _Easter in Ordinary__

I believe it was Whitehead who said that all metaphysics are fatally flawed. I like to say that all metaphysics are pregnant with paradox. At any rate, I do not suggest that we therefore desist from metaphysics but only that we recognize that our project is to construct the least morbid metaphysic or the one least likely to multiple birth paradox.   I lament, just like the next fellow, the mutual unintelligibilities of essentialism, substantialism, nominalism, a priorism, manifold and multiform dualisms, empiricism, rationalism, unnuanced pragmatism, fideism, encratism, pietism, quietism, apophaticism, platonic rationalist realism, kantian rationalist idealism, humean empiricist idealism, aristotelian empiricist realism, analytical reductionism, and every other insidious – ism.   Still, I am not quite ready to throw in my epistemological towel or to take my ontological marbles home. And I am quite willing to let a thousand thomistic flowers bloom – analytical, personalist, aristotelian, transcendental, existential and others. And who’s to say they are the weeds and process approaches the cultivars? or vice versa? Besides, most are moving in the substance-process direction in addition to whatever other hermeneutical prisms they choose to filter reality.  Some suggest deep and dynamic formal fields, tacit dimensions, implicate

order, a divine matrix, nonenergetic causations and other robust models that overcome past metaphysical shortcomings. This is just to suggest that not all metaphysics are equally insolvent and headed for liquidation in a Chapter 7 hermeneutical bankruptcy and that some have emerged from their Chapter 11 reorganizations ready and able to robustly engage the economic trinity (which, perhaps, is the immanent trinity, but not necessarily vice versa).   Some have found great utility in prescinding from a metaphysical perspective to a more phenomenological approach, a perspective I like to call a metacritique, which, if it employs a peircean-inspired speculative grammar of both logical and modal vagueness, I like to call a metatechnica. This allows one to avoid the dilemma of “working with unquestioned metaphysical assumptions” or of “presuming faulty metaphysical ideas antithetical to one’s experience” [1] without needing to articulate a metaphysics though necessarily paying heed to, well, physics and the widely agreed upon givens of science: primitives, forces and axioms (possibilities, actualities and probabilities?). For my part,  I am less and less inclined to overinvest in the latest root metaphor as if there could be a shortcut to the renormalization project of theoretical physics, which continues to struggle with pattern and paradox, chance and necessity, order and chaos, random and systematic, with theories that are manifestly incompatible and concepts that are mutually unintelligible: quantum mechanics, Bohm and Copenhagen interpretations, general and special relativity, gravity, M-theory, quantum vacuum fluctuations, quantum gravity, String theory, multiverse and many worlds theory and such, all in pursuit of a TOE (Theory of Everything).   Stanley Jaki has made a rather big deal out of Stephen Hawking’s late-coming to the recognition that godelian-like constraints foreclose on science’s aspirations to articulate a TOE. I appreciate and understand his excitement, at least to the extent that it confirmed some of my strongest godelian intuitions. At the same time, I temper my own excitement and don’t fully buy into Haldane’s view that “reality is not only stranger than we imagine but stranger than we can imagine.” That does seem true, for now. Otherwise, I remain more fully invested in Chesterton’s position that “we don’t know enough about reality to say that it is unknowable” and I like to parse that as “un/knowable.” I further qualify this with Wittgenstein in that “it is not how things are but that things are which is the mystical.”    Are faith and reason, or the empirical, rational, practical and hermeneutical, parallel approaches to reality? Or, do they just seem that way at this particular location on humankind’s journey of knowledge, which has inexorably advanced, however fallibilistically? Or, might they perhaps be meridians that appear to be parallel at these equatorial coordinates, otherwise to converge as we near some eschatological polar coordinates (my play on a notion of Christopher Mooney, I think)? Is it that, as Pugh contends, if our brains were so simple we could understand them then we would be so simple that we could not?   To the extent that godelian incompleteness is an attribute of any closed, formal symbol system, it does seem that we will always be thwarted in our attempts to prove our system axioms within our systems and are faced with the sisyphean task of forever “jumping outside the system” (JOTS) to prove our next set of axioms, whether of highly speculative metaphysics or advanced theoretical physics, which, truth be known, are the same enterprise as I see it. They only differ in degree, such degrees measured in distances of how far out in front of physics and human experience we are willing to run in our renormalization efforts. I don’t offer this distinction in a pejorative over-against manner or to put down metaphysics as a worthwhile enterprise but only to suggest that metaphysics is an attempt to build useful heuristics while theoretical physics aims for greater explanatory adequacy in terms of known, agreed upon givens (primitives like space, time, mass and energy; forces like gravity, weak & strong, electromagnetism; axioms like entropy, thermodynamic laws, indeterminacy). Perhaps it is fair to say that metaphysics and theoretical physics are the same enterprise at different places on a risk trajectory, the former a riskier venture, hopefully with concomitant rewards in terms of augmented values: truth, beauty, goodness and love.   We must simply look over our shoulders at our various leaps and, then, leap in awareness, “transcending but not transgressing,” [2] or, as I like to say, going beyond but not without. As for godelian constraints, who is to say that, as we approach the asymptotes of our knowledge of reality, the remaining unproven axioms will be interesting or uninteresting, nontrivial or trivial? Who’s to say that these theoretical boundaries of knowledge have any practical import, existential or otherwise, for the human journey? And when Chesterton talks about the un/knowable, who equates human knowing with human proving, anyway? Godel did not deny that we could see the truth of our propositions even if their axioms were unprovable within the same system. (Reminiscent of the Ignatian imperative to taste and see?) Few need to travel with Whitehead and Russell, half-way through the Principia, in order to properly conclude that 2 + 2 = 4. I am not arguing for or against reality’s comprehensibility per se even as I buy into the notion that it is reality’s inexhaustible intelligibility that makes it seem utterly incomprehensible. Reality is, nonetheless, clearly apprehensible and it is simply too early to say to what extent. And this brings me to my next argument.   Once we inhabit both logical and modal vagueness and prescind from metaphysics to our metatechnica with a more phenomenological perspective, we might be tempted to not return to any realm of physics or metaphysics that remains immersed in intractable renormalization problems. I am using the notion of renormalizability as a more broadly conceived analogue to that employed in quantum field theory (QFT) to convey the notion that our different approaches to reality present us with substantial difficulties vis a vis incommensurability between theories and mutual unintelligibility of concepts. In other words, some of the problems with essentialism, substantialism, nominalism and various dualisms in philosophy are analogous to those we encounter when, for instance, we try to reconcile general relativity and quantum field theory in a consideration of quantum gravity.  We do not, however, necessarily, abandon these otherwise disparate physical accounts of reality despite the nonrenormalizability of their operators. We press on with them to the extent they have otherwise helped us probe reality successfully, applying the pragmatic maxim and holding them accountable for some cash value. In many ways, this is how I view the otherwise disparate accounts of reality delivered by various philosophical points of view. Do they really deserve the pejorative force employed against them, one by the other, or by those who’d have us prescind from their vantage points altogether? Should we cease and desist from epistemology, ontology, cosmology, axiology and teleology just because they are mutually confounding? Should we abandon classical notions of causation --- formal, material, efficient, instrumental and final --- because they are not fully reconcilable? Are our abductions of primal ground, primal being, primal origin & support, primal order and primal destiny mere reifications? Is our tendency to take existence as a predicate of being simply a fetish?   Even if we adopt a triadic grammar of knower, known and act of knowing, can we really transcend a fully relational approach to reality (including some dyadic and dualistic conceptions) that robustly accounts for the wholly other, which is integral to our human experience? Does a pansemeiotic approach gift us with both explanatory adequacy and augmented meaning? Does it obviate ontological approaches? Or might it evade real problems and thereby yield only an anemic grasp of an even more richly textured reality? Who is to say, a priori, that our encounter with paradox arises from the exigencies of the knower, the nature of the known or the vagaries intrinsic to the act of knowing, or some combination thereof? And insofar as formal accounts of reality are concerned, models of reality, how would one escape godelian incompletness as it might variously manifest in epistemic vagueness, modal vagueness and semantical vagueness due to incomplete knowledge,  incomplete being and/or incomplete meaning (all this separate and apart from the additional problems one might encounter due to ambiguities)?   Why does our modeling power of reality suffer? Who can devise a formal account of beginnings that does not otherwise introduce a paradox of its own, whether of question begging, tautology, causal disjunction or infinite regress? without one’s conclusions embedded in one’s premises? without invoking analogues so weak as to render causations impotent? without epistemological turtles stacked all the way up and all the way down? For now, I say, let a thousand philosophical blossoms bloom and a thousand metaphysical metaphors cascade, this notwithstanding the

blossoms will fade, rooted in the soil of epistemological paradox, and the metaphors will eventually collapse, under the weight of ontological density. And lets us keep the ontological distinct from the cosmological for, as Hefner’s created co-creators, we are, on one hand, an experience of autopoiesis and freedom, on the other, bounded and determined, culturally and genetically. [3]   In the language of emergence and supervenience (a distinction I don’t wholly buy), we talk of accounts of reality being epistemologically open or closed, ontologically open or closed (and I have this fleshed out elsewhere). As far as the human mind is concerned, the emergentistic account remains both epistemologically and ontologically open. And this sounds right-headed to me and honors the integrity of Chalmers’ “hard problem” of consciousness without doing away with the questions either reductionistically, such as in Dennett’s __Consciousness Explained__, or by the facile minding of matter and mattering of mind, such as in some peircean interpretations. I’m not here to take sides with Dennett, Peirce, Chalmers, Searle, the Churchlands, Ayn Rand, Penrose or Terry Deacon (although my bets are placed on Deacon’s peircean approach). What I am suggesting is that it is not so much how we are created co-creators but that we are created co-creators that exhilirates me.   In the same way that the humeans would deny us the predication of being by existence, some would deny us our ontological forays in their claim that our epistemological framework is of shoddy construction. In the first place, presently, at this point on our human journey, all of our modeling attempts of reality are going to be somewhat tautological, which is to say that, although they have heuristic value and give us some conceptual placeholders,  offering us possibly novel vantage points, they don’t really add any new information. Thing is, just because something is tautological doesn’t mean it is not also true, which is why, I’d reckon, thomism thus flourishes notwithstanding humean admonitions. The same is true of those approaches that introduce causal disjunction and infinite regress paradoxes; just because we encounter paradox doesn’t mean they are necessarily untrue.   After we have done our best, empirically, rationally and practically, in our theoretical physical and metaphysical enterprises, our hermeneutical perspective is then privileged, informed by both our aesthetical inclinations and our intersubjective relationships with their grammars of assent and relationality (fidelity, trust, hope, love, etc). In a risk trajectory that is amplified as we broaden our concerns from the empirical to the rational to the practical to the hermeneutical, human meaning is thus augmented and realized in ever more truth, beauty, goodness and love. This risk amplification results from our various approaches to noetical, aesthetical, moral and relational objects as they change their foci from the objective to the subjective to the interobjective and finally the intersubjective. In every focus we employ the full evaluative continuum, or the entire human knowledge manifold, even though certain “moments” in this integral act of human knowing variously “enjoy”their engagement with reality, moreso or less, whether inferential or noninferential, rational, non-, pre- or supra-rational. This dynamic is set forth below. Below are some a) direct quotes (without attributions yet)  and b) paraphrases from Daniel Helminiak's __Religion and the Human  Sciences__, Chapter 2, Higher Viewpoints from Bernard Lonergan (1998, SUNY). Mixed in and comprising the largest part of this epistemological desiderata are c) my extrapolations (hopefully not too facile). There is nothing distinctly religious or dogmatic herein, although it has clear theotic and Christological implications, for instance.   The leitmotif: Progressively augmented risk-taking, in the pursuit of human authenticity, amplifies the human experience of truth, beauty, goodness and love. In effect, it is an emergentistic account about a dynamism often associated with aesthetics: the shedding of monotony and the appropriation of novelty in the amplification of beauty. It sets forth a humanistic agenda for the created cocreator and for the religious naturalist, alike.     1) Whatever terminology one employs in a consideration of a system of higher viewpoints, they constitute a conceptual system that locks into one coherent and comprehensive account of a broad range of concerns. [see Helminiak pg. 143]   2) Whatever terminology one employs in a consideration of this coherent and comprehensive account, each of the progressively broadening viewpoints has a distinctive domain and particular focus of concern. [Helminiak, pg. 104 – The viewpoints are intellectually related but not logically related. “One moves from a lower to a higher viewpoint not by logical argumentation but by reasonable choice grounded in deeper understanding.  ... ... ... questions that determine the viewpoints are different, so the viewpoints are irreducibly distinct from one another.”]   3) The shift from a lower to a higher viewpoint involves a major new presupposition and a commitment to it, the key to such matters being human authenticity. [Helminiak, pg. 91 – “Authenticity is the major issue. On it all else depends. And, on pg. 147 – “Each of the successively higher viewpoints depends on new and major presuppositions. See also pg. 81.]   4) In a shift from a lower to a higher viewpoint, this authenticity is augmented by a progressively broader and more risky commitment to truth, goodness, beauty and love.  [This is my extrapolation of Helminiak from pg. 91, where he writes: “For granted that God exists, belief in God must entail an augment in authenticity, a broader and more risky commitment to the true and the good.” I then take this theme and run with it, although my quadratic is empirical, rational, practical and hermeneutical rather than positivistic, philosophic, theistic and theotic. Actually, my rational and practical and hermeneutical foci correspond to his philosophic viewpoint, which then take one to the threshold of the theistic, then theotic. So, these are consonant systems. I am just not treating as many viewpoints as he is.]   5) Such a coherent and comprehensive account of a broad range of concerns, properly considered, constitutes an integral act of human knowing, which can be described in terms of a) a cognitional theory, which asks what do we do when we know? b) an epistemology, which asks  why is that knowing? and c) a metaphysics, which asks what do we know when we do that? This integral act will also be conditioned by d) an  overarching hermeneutic or interpretive lens, an implicit Theory of Everything (TOE), so to speak. [Helminiak describes the major issues of Lonergan’s __Insight__ on pg.83 --- a cognitional theory, an epistemology and a metaphysics.]   6) Whatever terminology one employs in a consideration of the integral act of human knowing, this act entails distinguishable moments of risktaking in one's commitment to truth, goodness, beauty and love.   7) Shifts from lower to higher viewpoints are then driven by an existential orientation toward a progressively augmented human authenticity, which entails progressively risky commitments to truth, goodness, beauty and love.   8) The distinguishable moments of risk-taking in one's commitment to truth, goodness, beauty and love correspond to Lonergan's secular  conversions, respectively, as intellectual, moral, affective and social (or sociopolitical).   9) These conversions, properly considered, are risk-taking ventures and the human pursuit of authenticity can be conceived as the willingness and courage to, ultimately, risk all in exchange for progressively augmented truth, goodness, beauty and love.   10) The lowest viewpoint, the narrowest focus of human concern, is the empirical perspective and its concern is the evidential, descriptive or

positivistic.   11) The empirical augments its commitment to truth, goodness, beauty and love by broadening its focus to the rational perspective, which is concerned with the experiential, prescriptive or philosophic.   12) The rationalist viewpoint then augments its commitments by broadening its focus to the practical perspective, which is concerned with the  prudential, normative or prudential evaluative (the pragmatic and moral).   13) The practical perspective augments its commitment to truth, goodness, beauty and love by broadening its focus to the hermeneutical  perspective.   14) The hermeneutical is concerned with the interpretive or nonprudential evaluative (the aesthetical and relational).   15) Each perspective, in an integral act of human knowing, employs a distinct grammar that corresponds to its particular focus of concern.           a)The empirical employs a grammar of falsification and peircean inductive inference.            b) The rational employs formally constructed logic and peircean deductive inference.            c) The practical employs a minimalist formalism, which includes reductio arguments (which are otherwise flawed due to ad ignorantium premises), peircean abductive inference and the pragmatic maxim. It also employs some quasi-inferential capacities such as Polanyi's tacit dimension, Newman's illative sense, Fries' nonintuitive immediate knowledge, which are arguably formal in a minimalist sense.           d) The hermeneutical grammar is not formally constructed and, aesthetically, it employs aesthetical expression, while relationally, it employs a grammar of trust and assent.       16) Each viewpoint or perspective seeks a progressively broader understanding of reality and raises the whole enterprise of understanding reality to a new level of generality, a higher viewpoint. [see Helminiak pg. 67] Each viewpoint is valid in its own right, and this realization is precisely the point of distinguishing different viewpoints and employing new grammars. Because human knowing is a singular and integral act that gathers together all of the distinguishable moments of risk-taking ventures in the pursuit of human authenticity, as that authenticity interestedly interacts with and probes reality, the system of viewpoints necessarily holds together as a whole, which is to say that the validity of lower viewpoints necessarily constrains the validity of higher viewpoints. [See Helminiak, pg. 66 – “Moreover, since the system of viewpoints holds together as a whole, the validity of one constrains the validity of another.”]   17) This hierarchical relationship of the viewpoints does not impute more worth to higher levels, which is a whole other consideration [see Helminiak pg. 65], but serves merely to properly interrelate them such that the hermeneutical cannot invalidate the practical, which in turn can not invalidate the rational, which cannot invalidate the empirical. In this sense, then, the empirical can be said to enjoy primacy as a distinguishable moment in the integral act of human knowing but neither it nor any other moment enjoys autonomy.   18) If (and only if) the integrity of this hierarchical relationship remains intact in the human enterprise of understanding reality, then, in the end, the hermeneutical perspective can be said to enjoy privilege (or the right to that perspective). Put another way, there can be no absolutizing of any viewpoint.   19) Each viewpoint or perspective has its own modal emphasis, which is to suggest that the empirical, rational, practical and hermeneutical probe reality ontologically to return, respectively, actualities, possibilities, probabilities and necessities, the first three being peircean categories (of ontological vagueness) and the last being transcendental. Another way of describing their grammar is that of semeiotic vagueness where, for actualities, noncontradiction and excluded middle hold; for possibilities, noncontradiction folds and excluded middle holds; and for probabilities, noncontradiction holds but excluded middle folds. Hence the empirical can fruitfully employ falsification; the rational can explore logical possibilities; and the practical attempts to narrow them down to probabilities albeit constrained by a minimalist formalism that employs the weakest of inferences. Any talk of necessities transcends the peircian triadic semeiotic and one must then fall back on one's aesthetical inclinations and fundamental trust in uncertain reality, whether justified or unjustified, in order to further augment, through additional risktaking, one's commitment to and realization of truth, goodness, beauty and love.    20) As a result of this hierarchical relationship and assuming the integral nature of the act of human knowing, each distinguishable moment of risk-taking will pervasively influence the interested interaction with and probing of reality at each level of perspective, from each viewpoint. And the intellectual, moral, affective and social insights we gather (and which I've inventoried below), as we take the necessary risks and broaden our perspectives, are not invalidated but can holistically inform our epistemologies, metaethics, aesthetics and worldviews.           a) Risking all for truth, in the empirical realm, we might operate from an implicit correspondence theory that gets articulated, in the rational realm, as an explicit virtue epistemology, in the practical realm, as coherence theory, and in the hermeneutical realm, as a community of inquiry. There is an augmentation of one's commitment to truth by the incremental risk-taking that progresses from mere correspondence to a virtue approach as the descriptive broadens its focus to the prescriptive. Additional risk is involved in, and one's truth commitment can be further augmented by, the broadening of these objective and subjective foci to a more open and flexible coherence approach, which is a more practical focus. The last risk-taking venture in one's attempt to augment one's commitment to truth is the turn of one's focus to a community of inquiry in the hermeneutical realm.           b) Risking all for goodness, in the empirical realm, we might operate from an implicit deontological theory that gets articulated, in the rational realm, as an explicit virtue ethics, in the practical realm, as contractarian ethics, and in the hermeneutical realm, as teleological ethics. There is an augmentation of one's commitment to goodness by the incremental risk-taking that progresses from a mere deontological focus on the act of a moral object to a virtue or aretaic approach as the descriptive broadens its focus to the prescriptive, specifically, to the  intentional aspect of a moral object. Additional risk is involved in, and one's commitment to goodness can be further augmented by, the  broadening of these objective and subjective foci to a more open and flexible contractarian approach, which is a more practical focus, which takes into account the circumstantial aspect of a moral object. The last risk-taking venture in one's attempt to augment one's commitment to goodness is the turn of one's focus to a teleological perspective in the hermeneutical realm, which marks a surrender to a putative transcendental value.           c) Risking all for beauty, in the empirical realm, we experience art as mere mimesis and imitational, which gets expressed, in the rational realm, as formalism and essentialism, in the practical realm, as instrumentalism and moral agency, and in the hermeneutical realm, as expressionism and emotionalism. There is an augmentation of one's commitment to beauty by the incremental risk-taking that progresses from a mere mimetic and imitational focus on the aesthetical object to a formalism or essentialism as the descriptive broadens its focus to the

prescriptive, specifically, to a more intentional aspect of an aesthetical object. Additional risk is involved in, and one's commitment to beauty  can be further augmented by, the broadening of these objective and subjective foci to a more open and flexible instrumentalism and moral  agency approach, which is a more practical focus, which takes into account a putative normative aspect of an aesthetical object. The last risktaking venture in one's attempt to augment one's commitment to beauty is the turn of one's focus to expressionism and emotionalism in the hermeneutical realm, which marks a surrender to art for the sake of art, which is to say, to a putative transcendental perspective that views beauty as its own reward.           d) Risking all for love, in the bernardian sense, we exhibit love of self for sake of self (or eros) and that gets amplified, in the  rational and practical realms, as love of other for sake of self, or reciprocal altruism (perhaps philia). This grows into the agapic love of other for sake of other, beyond all practical considerations. And finally, unitively, our hermeneutic comes full circle to love of self for sake of other. Once again, there is an augmentation of one's commitment to love by the incremental risk-taking that progresses from a mere eros, and focus on oneself,  to an other-interested philia, which is an enlightened self-interest as one broadens one's focus to others. Additional risk is involved in, and one's commitment to love can be further augmented by, the broadening of eros and philia to a more robustly-oriented agape, the love of other for sake of other. The last risk-taking venture in one's attempt to augment one's commitment to love is the realization of solidarity and the unitive, in a sublimated storge and authentic I-Thou relationship.   21) This is the journey of authenticity for all who sojourn through this apparently emergentistic reality we call our universe. And our journey, step by step, is perilous and risk-laden, and any ongoing amplification of truth, goodness, beauty and love requires a progressive augmentation of our existential orientations toward these apparently inescapable imperatives (cf. From Biology to Morality) by our ongoing intellectual, moral, affective and sociopolitical conversions. And these conversions necessarily entail risks. And these risks have rewards. And we have been told, by the aesthetic teleologists, that the greater the number of bifurcations and permutations that comprise a system, the greater the number of risks involved,  the greater the number of individual threats to that system's stability and the greater its fragility. But the fragile is  here equated with beautiful. The more fragile, the more beautiful. And so it is with truth, goodness and love.   22) This hierarchical relationship, patterned after Helminiak's faithful rendering of Lonergan, is anticipated by the peircean aphorism that the normative sciences mediate between phenomenology and metaphysics.  There is another peircean adage that orthopraxis authenticates orthodoxy and there it is, in this above schema, as the practical mediates between the empirico-rational and the hermeneutical.   23) The risk trajectory progressively takes one from a focus on the objective to the subjective to the interobjective to the intersubjective. This account of these foci is primarily epistemological but it does have some implicit ontological presuppositions, at least from a phenomenological perspective. It does commit to a metaphysical realism and a fallibilistic approach to metaphysics. It does commit to a moral realism, if for no other reason, because it affirms an inherent normativity in the integral act of human knowing. [See Helminiak pg. 84 re: Lonergan’s subsection entitled “The Inherent Normativity of Consciousness.”]   24) As far as the major schools of thought and theories for epistemology, aesthetics and ethics, I am not suggesting that these are facilely reconcilable systems. Rather, it seems that, in each sphere of concern, there seems to be a proper emphasis on the objective, subjective, interobjective or intersubjective aspect of  noetical, aesthetical, moral or relational objects and that the major theories tend to, improperly, variously overemphasize and underemphasize these aspects and tend to dwell more or less exclusively in one or another of these spheres of concern with respect to those objects. In fact, I am suggesting that the entire human evaluative continuum is properly engaged in each sphere of concern and on all aspects of these noetical, aesthetical, moral and relational objects, even if certain distinguishable moments in the integral act of knowing, or certain distinguishable aspects of the evaluative continuum, do seem to more fully engage this or that aspect of this or that noetical, aesthetical, moral or relational object when the evaluative continuum is engaged in this or that sphere of concern.    
1) In human epistemology, there is a hierarchy of progressively larger spheres of concern, all integrally related. 2) The broadest sphere of concern is the hermeneutical. Nested within it, and respectively within one another, are the practical, rational and empirical spheres. 3) The empirical sphere or focus enjoys primacy in that its findings properly constrain those of the larger spheres, which, hierarchically and in turn, then constrain the findings of each successively larger sphere - the rational then practical and hermeneutical. 4) The hermeneutical sphere is privileged in that it is the arbiter of competing perspectives to the extent that any ambiguities and contradictions regarding findings have not otherwise already been resolved in the narrower spheres, which are similarly privileged - the practical over the rational over the empirical. 5) Although these spheres influence each other by properly constraining each other's findings, they are otherwise methodologically autonomous in that they each ask different questions of reality. 6) Although the speculative grammar, which guides the human knowledge manifold, is the same for all spheres, the virtues (Quine) that guide abduction (hypothesis formulation and conjecture) necessarily change due to differences in the modal emphases of each sphere - actual vs possible vs probable vs transcendental (maybe necessary), respectively, for the empirical, rational, practical and hermeneutical.
Notes: The spheres of concern may also be called foci of concern or realms of interest. They presuppose a contrite fallibilism and metaphysical realism. The empirical may be considered positivistic and evidential. The rational may be considered philosophic and logical. The practical may be considered pragmatic and prudential. It is partly philosophic and partly evaluative. Its prudential judgment is both moral and pragmatic. Among other approaches, it employs a minimalist formalism, which includes a) reductio arguments otherwise plagued with ad ignorantium premises and b) peircean abduction. It also employs such as c) the pragmatic maxim d) Polanyi's tacit dimension e) Newman's illative sense and other capacities that are noninferential. The hermeneutical may be considered evaluative, experiential and existential. It includes ultimate concerns. Its judgment is nonprudential, both aesthetical and relational. Relationally, it employs a grammar of trust and assent.

 
As for the realms of science & the empirical, logic & the rational, the conceptual & practical --- the realm of the evaluative & hermeneutical is, as the philosophers might say, epistemologically prior. In religion, then, faith is privileged over reason and the hermeneutical enjoys a primacy over the rational & empirical & practical, each of these realms autonomous in their specific approaches to reality (methodologies) but all realms still very much integrally related, each to the other realms. All of this is to suggest that the rational still has a philosophic role in demonstrating the reasonableness of one's faith even as it cannot a priori provide a so-called proof. And the empirical still has a positivistic role in descriptively revealing the facts about reality, to which the practical then imparts relevance. The hermeneutical provides the ultimate meaning for these other realms through evaluation & interpretation. A Four-Fold Typology for Relating Human Approaches to Reality There are many four-fold typologies based on brain hemispheres that attempt to describe temperament, personality, learning style, dominant brain function and other human behavioral attributes. To be sure, there are many popularizations of such typologies, some contributing to oversimplifications and facile analyses. Still, there are many other approaches that are rather well-grounded in scientific research and neuroscience. The resulting categories of these approaches sometimes provide useful heuristics even when not otherwise robustly scientific.

One such useful heuristic, in my view, is the categorization of human approaches to reality as 1) rational 2) empirical 3) practical and 4) hermeneutical. (This would correspond to related typologies such as 1) prescriptive 2) descriptive 3) normative and 4) interpretive; 1) philosophic 2) positivistic 3) pragmatic and 4) evaluative; 1) experiential 2) evidential 3) prudential and 4) hermeneutical.) Visit here for a fuller exploration of the hermeneutical approach to reality via faith: http://bellsouthpwp.net/p/e/per-ardua-ad-astra/rubricon.htm One can devise any number of rubrics for describing these approaches and these will, then, more or less, correspond to the epistemological theories of the different philosophical schools. These rubrics would answer such questions as: 1) Which approach is privileged, or enjoys primacy over the others? 2) Are these approaches autonomous, or are these approaches otherwise derived from, or dependent on, the other approaches? 3) Whatever the case may be regarding issues of primacy and autonomy, are these approaches otherwise related and, if so, how? 4) Can identical rational, empirical and practical approaches cohere within more than one hermeneutical approach? In other words, can one apply the same logical formulations to the same empirical data with the same practical considerations and draw conclusions about reality that are consistent with more than one hermeneutical approach? My answers to these questions, my rubrics, follow. 1) Which approach is privileged, or enjoys primacy over the others? The hermeneutical approach is privileged. The evaluative enjoys primacy over the philosophic, positivistic and pragmatic. Faith in First Principles and such prephilosophical presuppositions as 1) the principles of noncontradiction, excluded middle and identity 2) the existence of other minds 3) the intelligibility of reality 4) the intelligence of the human brain 5) common sense notions of classical causality 6) etc do not lend themselves to either logical proof or empirical demonstration. Sometimes considered self-evident, such presuppositions have no real a priori claim but are, instead, deemed worthy by the practical consequences that ensue from trying them out (or forsaking them) in our approaches to reality. In other words, for instance, an argument over against solipsism is not logically coercive and not empirically demonstrable. A solipsist is not to be dispossessed of his/her hermeneutic through formal argumentation or experimentation but might have it reduced to absurdity, in the crucible of experience, from trying to live that way. Similarly, the pragmatic enjoys primacy over the positivistic and philosophic insofar as different logical frameworks can accommodated identical empirical results. Here one might invoke the pragmatic maxim and ask what difference one's philosophical framework makes, practically speaking. This is sometimes described as inquiring after an idea's "cash value." This all applies to faith, in general, and to such as Tillich's "ultimate concern," in particular. 2) Are these approaches autonomous, or are these approaches otherwise derived from, or dependent on, the other approaches? These approaches are, methodologically, autonomous, which is to suggest that they are asking different questions of the same reality. 3) Whatever the case may be regarding issues of primacy and autonomy, are these approaches otherwise related and, if so, how? Although these approaches are autonomous, and while the practical & hermeneutical enjoy primacy over the rational and empirical, they are otherwise integrally related, not encroaching on one another's methodologies but otherwise respectively constraining, or even liberating, the influence of the other approaches. 4) Can identical rational, empirical and practical approaches cohere within more than one hermeneutical approach? In other words, can one apply the same logical formulations to the same empirical data with the same practical considerations and draw conclusions about reality that are consistent with more than one hermeneutical approach? Speculatively, in principle, it would seem that only one hermeneutic would be warranted (or justified) given any particular constellation of rational, empirical and practical approaches. Practically speaking, however, this must be tempered by the notion that we do not yet know enough about reality to say that it is un/knowable (Chesterton). Thus we could, with qualification, agree with Haldane that reality is not only stranger than we imagine but stranger than we CAN imagine (for now, at least). Given this rubric, how might this speak to the issue of relating science to religion per various typologies? First, we might note that the philosophic is housed in a separate realm inasmuch as it corresponds to the rational approach. And the pragmatic, for its part, corresponds to the practical approach. Science belongs to the empirical approach and religion to the hermeneutical approach. Using Haught's typology and my rubric, these approaches would seem to contrast, but only to the extent one might assert their autonomy to the exclusion of their integral relatedness. These approaches would seem to conflict, but only to the extent one might assert the primacy of one approach to the exclusion of their autonomy and/or their integral relatedness. These approaches would thus clearly be in contact by virtue of their integral relatedness. Finally, because, in many respects, it is still too early for humankind to arbitrate, even pragmatically, between certain hermeneutics that otherwise share rational and empirical approaches, at the hermeneutical level there can be irresolute conflict, but only between one hermeneutic and another, which is to say one worldview and another. For the same reason, the very same rational and empirical and practical “findings” may, in the same instance, offer apparent confirmation to two or more otherwise disparate hermeneutics. Science is an empirical approach, not a hermeneutical approach. It is a descriptive and not an evaluative enterprise. It cannot, therefore, per my rubric, conflict with a worldview or even, necessarily, with this or that philosophical school (note how a thousand philosophical blossoms bloom even within thomism), the positivistic being distinct from the philosophic. The only de novo aspect to my scheme is the bifurcation of the evaluative into two separate approaches to reality: 1) the nonprudential evaluative - akin to the concept of taste 2) the prudential evaluative - which bifurcates into two types of prudential judgment: a) moral and b) pragmatic. The first bifurcation I call the hermeneutical and the other the practical. Making this distinction seems to provide me a more robust paradigm for treating human epistemology. Pragmatic judgment implies more than just ecological rationality or a “what’s it to me?” perspective but, in my view, must include other “informal”  approaches to reality, such as Newman’s illative sense, Polanyi’s tacit dimension and Peirce’s abduction. There is no algorithmic bridge from the formal and philosophic to the informal and pragmatic except, perhaps, for the weakest form of inference, abduction, sometimes combined with a reductio ad absurdum, which, although formal enough, is most often plagued by the practical consideration of avoiding the logical fallacy of argument from lack of imagination, where it is proven that "not p" implies a property "q", which looks false, but is not really proven to be false. I delve into informal approaches here: http://bellsouthpwp.net/p/e/per-ardua-ad-astra/informal_practical.htm Any given human will approach reality as an integral entity employing rational, empirical, practical and hermeneutical perspectives. From the standpoint of human inferential capacities, we are, respectively, looking at a dance between deduction, induction and abduction (the peircean term for formulating hypotheses). I pirated the word "transduction" to indicate the noninferential character of the nonprudential evaluative nature of the hermeneutical perspective. (It is also evocative of viral memes in the cultural realm, but I won't digress). The prefix, trans, for me, also indicates that, while we go beyond, we do not go without. Borrowing from Daniel Helminiak's ideas, though heavily amended, these approaches to reality are hierarchical in the sense that those with narrower foci of human concern are both nested within and properly constrain those with broader foci. This is to say, then, that "findings" of the empirical approach constrain those of the rational which further constrain those of the practical which still further constrain the hermeneutical. (Helminiak deals with the positivistic, philosophic, theistic and theotic. My categories genericize his to address all of epistemology, not just that of religious faith.) So, in a nutshell, what I describe includes elements of 1) primacy 2) autonomy 3) integral relatedness 4) holonic character and 5) hierarchical governance or constraint. Regarding primacy, I simply describe how the hermeneutical aspect is epistemologically privileged, which is only to say that, if the practical, rational and empirical findings in one's approach to reality have not already dispossessed one of any elements within one's worldview, one cannot be dispossessed of the remaining elements. Essentially, the hermeneutical only adds a nonprudential evaluative perspective, which does not lend itself to formal construction, empirical testing or rational demonstration. At this point, we can only fallback on practical considerations and the backdoor philosophy of the reductio ad

absurdum (mindful that the counterintuitive is not an infallible guide to philosophic and positivistic truths). Primacy implies, all other things being equal, that the hermeneutical is privileged over the practical which is privileged over the rational which is privileged over the empirical. Think of it as an epistemological entitlement program. One can have whatever hermeneutic one wants but practical considerations might give one pause (over against solipsism, for example). And so on and so forth. Join whatever philosophical school you like, but don't tinker with the positivistic findings of science. Hierarchical constraint recognizes that --- all other things are not necessarily equal, ergo, one must inquire after the findings of the other approaches to reality and defer to them as one progressively broadens one's focus of human concern. Thus, when it comes to the ways of relating science and religion, I am suggesting they are somewhat facile to the extent they do not recognize all of my nuancing, which, if they did, wouldn't characterize the different "ways" as necessarily mutually exclusive. To wit: 1) Two different hermeneutics could conflict and irresolutely so, if and only if all other findings are equal, empirically, rationally and practically. 2) The different approaches to reality, as represented by my categories, are independent, which is to say that they are methodologically autonomous. This is not to suggest, however, that they aren't hierarchically constrained. 3) And so on and so forth, important distinctions not always yielding intractable dichotomies. Most of the epistemological -isms, especially those applied in the pejorative sense, arise from failures to properly nuance primacy, autonomy, hierarchical constraint and integral-relatedness, hence, rationalism, fideism, scientism, radical fundamentalism, etc. And I do not even maintain that this scheme has any a priori claim. Rather, it mirrors where human knowledge is at this point in time and results from our finitude, which we fallibly but inexorably seem to ameliorate through time. I do not have a problem with the idea that "science creates a metaphysics." Any attempts to do metaphysics must play by the same positivistic, philosophic and pragmatic rules. It doesn't matter if you're Thomas Aquinas or Max Tegmark. http://bellsouthpwp.net/p/e/per-ardua-ad-astra/contemplation.htm Now, we will refocus from theological imperatives to their corresponding existential orientations because, after all, the thrust of our conversation is on human behavior and, specifically, as it relates to worldviews.

In placing the de novo contributions of religion in the hermeneutical realm, I only mean to suggest that faith is primarily evaluative. I do not join that chorus that claims it is exclusively evaluative, whereby, totally ensconced in a nonpropositional epistemic fortress, it eludes all atheological analysis.

We are already aware that definitions of faith are controversial and that its epistemological classification is not clear. I do want to make my position clear in that I take faith as primarily evaluative. I like Tillich’s “faith as ultimate concern” inasmuch as it is close to the etymological roots of pistis (fides), be and lyian, which translates “to hold dear.”

The human existential orientation of faith is not unconditional in the sense that, even per my very own schema, I place limiting restrictions on it vis a vis empirical and rational and practical perspectives, this notwithstanding its methodological autonomy. In that specific regard, it is not conditioned by empirical and rational foci, which is to say it is not even dealing with evidential and propositional elements. It is in that context that I describe it as unconditional.

What faith does involve is assent to propositions based on trust, which in turn is based on relationship (oft considered authority). This involves the thomistic distinction between consideration of a content and assent to it. From this distinction one can distribute different propositional attitudes. Hence, trustfulness, fiducia, commitment, risk, assent, volition and the lexicon of personal relationships applies. That something like a feeling of betrayal results from threats to any relationship is proof that the experience of betrayal is extraordinary, unexpected and contrary to the rule. Hence, one’s experience of betrayal in relationship is the exception that proves the rule. Faith does not require comprehension, does not traffic in evidence and rationality, is not an intuition of the truth of either a fact or a proposition, does not resolve to first principles. It provides existential certainty and not empirical or rational certainty. It is a way of experiencing reality that is radically open to transcendence, both lower and upper cased. It is evaluative, virtuous, anagogical (oriented to things hoped for), volitional (moved by the will, which is open to grace), trustful, committed, concerned with ultimates (last and Last things), risky and involves assent, which considers the bearer of the Good News, evaluatively and hermeneutically. This is not to say the Good News is not to be considered empirically, rationally and practically, only to draw a distinction between

faith and these other perspectives, which faith goes beyond but not without. In fact, this framework might be considered to date back to Origen, in the patristic period, who saw the senses of Scripture layered in distinguishable meanings 1) literal 2) creedal/allegorical 3) moral and 4) anagogical. These correspond to my empirical, rational, practical and hermenutical foci—but that’s another matter. In the context of TOE elaborations, the only defensible position, empirically, is that we do not know. The same is true rationally and practically.

There are various reasons that we do not know. Some of these reasons are known to us. Some remain unknown. I have these reasons and possible reasons inventoried and categorized, inchoately.

There is a distinction we need to make between “do not know” and “cannot know” and another to be made between “do not know, now” and “cannot know, yet.”

Not all who hold the position that “we do not know, now” and “cannot know, yet” are incurable mysterians. There are different ways of being epistemological optimists and pessimists and these ways admit to different degrees.

I take counsel from Chesterton’s aphorism that we do not know enough about reality to say that it is un/knowable. And I thus qualify Haldane’s trope that “reality is not only stranger than we imagine but stranger than we can imagine” with the observation: yes, at least for now.

Whatever taxonomy I eventually devise for epistemological attitudes of optimism and pessimism, the overarching reason for my empirical, rational and practical agnosticism, re: TOE’s, is human finitude, which is the other side of the equation from Hefner’s autopoiesis and freedom: our embodiedness and determinedness.

When I consider the godelian axioms that will remain unprovable at the very asymptotes where human knowing will approach, as closely as possible, knowable reality, I have no reason to suspect those axioms will be interesting or uninteresting, trivial or nontrivial. One overreaches either epistemologically or ontologically or both, in my view, to claim otherwise, at least presently.

This brings us to the true nature of the hermeneutical vis a vis the empirical, rational and practical. The hermeneutical is evaluative. As I mentioned before, though, it seems useful to draw a distinction between the prudential and nonprudential evaluative, the former involving both moral and pragmatic judgment, which is to suggest, I suppose, that they are adjudicable. We can make appeals in the practical realm, not just prudentially, but also empirically and rationally. In the hermeneutical realm, which is evaluative but nonprudential, we have no such recourse but must fallback on our resources, not of sense, rather, of aesthetic sensibility (now showing my love for Jane Austen). One dynamic in this realm is the anagogical, which pertains to our hopes and aspirations. If faith is the confident assurance in things we hope for, then the convictions we hold about things unseen are not empirical, rational and practical but unconditional regarding evidential, propositional and prudential spheres of concern. This squares with Tillich’s faith as ultimate concern. Refer to the discussion of faith, above.

And let me reiterate that I am not solely addressing epistemic capacities but maybe even moreso foci of human concern as they broaden from the mere empirical to progressively take in rational and practical concerns, all this prior to turning one’s focus to ultimate concerns. This is not so much about our concern with ultimate reality, whatever that might be, but about what ultimately concerns us as human beings (and Merton offers us two categories here: continuity and creativity, but I won’t digress. Just wanted to remind myself).

Thus it is that the hermeneutical focus takes in the so-called theological virtues of faith, hope and love, dispositions that are unconditional because they are anagogical attitudes and neither epistemological nor ontological position statements. Of course, nested within them will be various epistemologies, cosmologies, ontologies, axiologies and teleologies, all properly constrained by the applicable rubrics of the other foci of concern, both positivistic and philosophic. (And for those trying to sqare this with Helminiak’s scheme, the philosophic would include both the rational & practical, the latter being nothing but backdoor philosophy anyway.)

Hence, faith is not set over against empirical, rational and practical agnosticisms. That is not its “concern.” Another angle --- to keep it (my meta-critique) moreso neurological or evol. psych. in context rather than what to many may seem like artificial constructs

Lonergan talks about 1) sensation 2) abstraction and 3) judgment in the human approach to reality. The way we are wired, we cannot make a practical judgment (think ecological rationality here) on many sensations (empirical observations), until we have abstracted them (conceptualized them).

Wittgenstein talks about 2nd order and 3 order abstraction. This is the same dynamic as above. In the third order, we are cognitively manipulating our 2nd order abstractions of empirically observed reality. Problem is, we can also manipulate OTHER abstractions.

Maritain talks about the 1) perinoetic (of science) 2) dianoetic (of math and philosophy) and 3) ananoetic (of metaphysics, note etymological root for analogy).

Peirce talks about 1) induction 2) deduction and 3) abduction (the last ”duction” being hypothesizing).

To my analogical imagination, all seem to be addressing the same dynamic. They give a descriptive account for how cognition works. Finite as we are, epistemologically then, the descriptive is going to have to drive the prescriptive. In simple terms, for cognition and inference to work properly, we have to properly work cognition and inference.

The upshot is, when hermeneutically interpeting reality, make sure it is reality, indeed, that you are interpreting. How? Make sure your judgments (Lonergan), 3rd order abstractions (Wittgenstein), ananoetic exercises (Maritain) and abductions (Peirce) are dealing with abstractions derived from the empirical realm of a) the perinoetic, b)sensations and c) inductive inferences.

This does not bring about the death of metaphysics, only the demise of unmitigated fideism and rationalism. For their part, scientism and radical empiricism must honor the autonomy of the rational, practical and hermeneutical realms, however much they might otherwise be properly constrained by science and, respectively, by each other. Again --- 1) the positivistic and empirical is both nested within and constrains the arguments of the philosophic and rational. 2) Those philosophic arguments, containing the empirical, are nested within and constrain the arguments of the pragmatic and practical. 3) Practical arguments are nested within and constrain the arguments of the hermeneutical.

Here it is useful to distinguish between the theoretical and practical.

Theoretically, in a perfect world, where a knower is not finite, or wherein science has inexorably advanced to the very asymptotes of knowable reality,

the distinctions between those aspects of the human approach to reality that I make a fuss about would remain but would be trivial, uninteresting . For all practical purposes, they would become, as you might say, distinctions that make no difference. From a godelian perspective, they’d involve unprovable axioms that no one would bother to prove or care to prove.

It is because of our finitude, at this point, radical finitude, that we have this dance between various human foci of concern and this competition between alternate hermeneutics. It is from a practical viewpoint that my rubrics for relating the empirical, rational, practical and hermeneutical might be helpful. What I offer is really just an epistemological meta-critique, a heuristic device to help locate the dis/agreements between worldviews.

To better illustrate my metacritique, I will share, below, two practical applications, which I used in clarifying some issues for other correspondents recently.

Application #1

Your reflections, themselves, have been depthful. I wonder what % of your contributions are related to: 1) empirical issues - easily arbitrated or resolved by science and recourse to facts 2) rational issues - easily arbitrated by logic and proper definition/agreement re: terminology, recognition of fallacy and determination of whether or not premises are true 3) practical issues - arbitrated by reductio ad absurdum arguments (if THAT were true THEN this absurdity would follow, contrary to common sense experience) --- such reductios don’t always point toward truth because some seeming absurdities ARE true (like curved space) and sometimes resolved by the pragmatic maxim or cash value approach (What DIFFERENCE would it make or does it make IF this versus that position was true?) If after 1, 2 and 3, one still needs a tie-breaker, then, there are 4) hermeneutical issues, which are nonprudential evaluations, which means values not driven by these types of prudence: 1) moral consideration and 2) pragmatic considerations (utilitarian, is is useful?) but by ---- taste or inclination. Which is to also say, if after 1, 2 and 3, one still needs a tie-breaker, then, too bad because there are none. At least not in this point in the history of human knowledge. Actually, this 4-step meta-critique can be useful whenever one approaches an item for discussion, dialogue or debate. And it is important for all participants to agree, per any given item, whether they are going to have a free-ranging session or one more narrowly focused on dialogue vs debate, since the ground rules are different, nettiquette-wise. Application #2

We can empirically observe and describe reality. We can abstract our observations of regularities into math and logic. However, because we are finite and our knowledge is limited, even if only for now for whatever reason, we can choose several different interpretations or hermeneutics that are totally consistent with both our observations and our abstractions. ANY and ALL hermeneutics will be tautological. Some (worldviews) will surely fail due to practical considerations.

But some of these hermeneutics will survive all empirical, rational and practical review. IOW, a carefully nuanced atheism, agnosticism or theism can be empirically correct, logically consistent and practically practicable. Those hermeneutics, respectively, can shoot down other hermeneutics that are mere strawmen or caricatures of the others’ systems -and that’s what most internet discussions between infidels and believers is about. But a carefully nuanced and well predicated theism, atheism or

agnosticism --- all of which I could personally construct given the time or inclination, would all be equally reasonable, rational or logically consistent, philosophically speaking, and very much consonant with the empirical findings of science.

That’s why they call it FAITH—because there IS no unambiguous evidence for ANY of these positions. They are not solely based on logic, but had better be logical. They are not solely grounded by science, but they had better be consistent with science and empircal data. The only recourse available for arbitrating the differences in these hermeneutics is the old orthopraxis authenticates orthodoxy. It is the pragmatic maxim. Try this hermeneutic on and see where it takes you (and society and humankind). We can inquire, practically, where is the cash value of holding this hermeneutic or another. There are other criteria for faith in the religious sense. There are some criteria for faith in the sense of first principles and selfevident truth. So far, in discussing hermeneutical foci, I have set forth the rationale regarding my defense of empirical, rational and practical TOE-related agnosticisms. I think I have sufficiently nuanced the definition of faith and the manner in which it conditions the interpretive framework of one’s hermeneutical focus. I am comfortable with my take on the empirical, rational and hermeneutical foci. It is the practical perspective that still generates a little epistemic angst. For all the talk of the descriptive, prescriptive and interpretive/evaluative, of the evidential, experiential and prudential, of the positivistic, philosophic and pragmatic, of the empirical, logical and practical --- the use of the evaluative crow’s nest, perched precariously atop our empirically anchored and rationally navigated vessel, can leave one feeling a little seasick, epistemologically. Does the distance between one’s epistemology and worldview require an oceangoing vessel, a world-class suspension bridge or maybe just a fallen log? Whatever the distance, it is measured between sensation-abstraction and judgment, between the empirical-rational and practical, between the formal and informal, between inductive-deductive inferences and abduction, between syntax and semantics, between algorithmic and nonalgorithmic, between left and right brain hemispheres? As far as the evaluative, pragmatic and interpretive perspectives are concerned, it has seemed useful to distinguish between the non-prudential and prudential evaluative, the latter comprising the practical realm, the former, the hermeneutical. This allows a further parsing of the prudential evaluative into moral and pragmatic judgments. My next project is to more closely examine the dynamics of that prudence we might associate with pragmatic judgments. It is in this realm that I would situate Peirce’s abduction, Polanyi’s tacit dimension and Newman’s illative sense. Also, one might think of such concepts as ecological and bounded rationalities. It is here that I locate the backdoor philosophy of the reductio ad absurdum, not that it is a fallacy in and of itself, but because, practically speaking, it’s premises are too often going to be informed by an ad ignorantium fallacy, which is an argument from ignorance (or lack of imagination). Now, notwithstanding any insistence that it is perhaps even a logical impossibility to attempt a formal proof -- that any particular cognitive faculty is the center of informal reasoning --- I have always sensed that one might properly establish a minimalist formalism. At least, I have suspected that this could be accomplished for some, though not all, aspects of prudential evaluations. I suppose it requires a maneuver much akin to going from a given to the normative, from the descriptive to the prescriptive, from an is to an ought. The legitimacy of the maneuver would be bound up with the axioms of one’s chosen meta-system, I suppose, such that, for Mortimer Adler, the coupling of a self-evident prescriptive proposition to a descriptive one would then allow one to reason one’s way to a moral conclusion. Others find the question begging as to what propositions, if any, are indeed self-evident or properly basic. A few years ago, there were many ideas running around in my peripatetic head that had to do with precisely this issue, however inchoately. They were the ideas of such as Gödel, Peirce, Polanyi, Newman and Maritain, among others. Very recently, I came across an interesting journal article, The Mathematics  of Charles Sanders Peirce, by Louis H. Kauffman in Cybernetics & Human Knowing. The bridging mechanism provided in that article leads me to believe that my association of certain ideas from various schools of thought was not at all overly facile. In Peirce’s idiosyncratic semeiotic lexicon, there is an intriguing symbol called a portmanteau, French for coat & hat rack, which provides a good visual for the word “heuristic.” The symbol is a sign for inference and Peirce called it the “sign of illation.” Kauffman explains: “The double meaning of the portmanteau is a precursor to the interlock of syntax and semantics that led to Gödel’s work on the incompleteness of formal systems,” and further elaborates: “The arithmetic of circles is a formal system that is interpreted in terms of itself. It is a calculus about the properties of the distinction made by any circle or oval in the plane, and by abduction it is about the properties of any distinction.” Above, succinctly put, one finds the key insights of Peirce and Gödel together with a nod toward Newman’s illative sense, along with a bridge between syntax and semantics. To be sure, this formalism is minimalist, but it is more than one might have hoped for, if otherwise as philosophically and mathematically naive as me. We can be excused to the extent that Peirce’s own descriptions of abduction and retroduction (used interchangeably) were ambiguous, even dichotomous. Sometimes it was an aesthetic term or a type of intuition; at other times it was said to be fully cognitive, described as being “deduced mathematically from the categories,” which is how I always took it, not being an peircean exegete. (This schema is also tied up with rubrics for when noncontradiction and excluded middle hold or fold, what I have called semantical vagueness.) Let me desist from delving further, but the idea of a minimalist formalism residing in the pragmatic, prudential judgment aspect of the practical focus of human concern does not seem farfetched. However much a reductio ad absurdum is in jeopardy of an ad ignorantium fallacy, almost inextricably bound together in the matters we have under consideration, still, the reductio is formal. And, although abduction remains the weakest form of inference, still, it plays an important role, retroductively, in winnowing out and narrowing down possibilities as it involves “IBE” or Inference to the Best Explanation. Fuzzy logic also comes to mind, as well as peircean semantical vagueness and ontological vagueness, which have their rubrics, which, let me coin a neologism, are at least quasi-formal. Rather than reasoning from a particular to a general, inductively, or from the general to the particular, deductively, abduction involves a recursive interplay between the other forms of inference to engender plausible hypotheses worthy of acceptance. They can involve, for example, reasoning from a) discriminating and diagnostic properties and attributes of an unknown object to b) known classes of objects with such properties and c) hypothesizing that that otherwise unknown object is probably going to turn out to be one of the objects in a particular class. This is nothing less than a Holmes and Watson plot. Of course, the algorithm cannot rule out the possibility of de novo objects with similar attributes and properties that, for whatever reason, remain unknown and that may be neither one of the objects in the given class nor in exactly the same class having exactly all of the same attributes. [I may not have said this well but detective metaphors work best to illustrate abduction.] The long and short of this consideration? Maybe this pragmatic pill is not going to be that hard to swallow after all? Perhaps a minimalist formalism to act as a bridge between the formal and informal, the syntactical and semantical, the algorithmic and nonalgorithmic, the empirical-rational and hermeneutical, will steady one’s wobbly epistemic sea legs and calm one’s hermeneutical stomach. Or, maybe you want to throw up? In which case, the aesthetic does seem to rule.

As Merton says, whether others come to the faith or not does not so much depend upon how many of us believers are good apologetes but, rather, on how

many of us are good apostles. By this you will know they are my disciples: See how they love one another. There are a LOT of nominal believers, I’m afraid, who are practical atheists. And vice versa.

End of Applications Finally, I was challenged by another correspondent to produce a precis for my arguments:

1) It seems that all worldviews go beyond mere empirical, rational and practical considerations. 2) However, in going beyond those considerations, worldviews should not also go without them. 3) Item #1 is a statement of fact.

4) Item #2 is my personal opinion.

5) Anyone who denies #1 re: their own worldview is incorrect. Subject: Re: knowing and Knowing

This needs more parsing.

My metacritique suggests that a worldview consists of 1) empirical 2) rational 3) practical and 4) hermeneutical elements.

A religion is such a worldview.

As we compare and contrast worldviews, we must compare and contrast each element. This exercise helps us to identify the new perspectives that any given hermeneutic might bring to the worldview table.

As an example, and one which with I’m most familiar, Roman Catholicism offers its own constellation of perspectives that include 1) empirically, certain historical elements 2) rationally, certain valid logical arguments, however tautological, known as natural theology 3) practically, certain moral arguments and 4) hermeneutically, the theological virtues of faith, hope and love, which are a) distinctly anagogical (aspiration-oriented & hope-related), b) decidedly unconditional and c) merely evaluative, d) celebrating such an aesthetic sensibility liturgically through ritual. See other criteria above.

The distinction between know and Know, in my critique, would apply empirically and rationally. It would apply practically, too, with a twist, such as per Kant’s practical reason. However, in the nonprudential evaluative focus, neither know nor Know apply. In my critique, characterizing the theological virtues in epistemic terms is a category error.

Thus, by definition, faith, as ultimate concern, is not an inferential proposition. This is not to say there isn’t that exercise in deductive reasoning called natural theology that formulates logical arguments for the existence of God, or in abductive reasoning that generates the hypothesis of the reality of God. It is only to suggest that these rational inferences are NOT de novo propositions brought to any given worldview hermeneutically. Any philosophy student can, rationally, construct an argument and demonstrate its validity, while awaiting an eschatological determination of its soundness. Any student of history and archaeology can, empirically, establish the existence of this fellow, Jesus, and his followers. Any student of ethics and metaethics can, practically, offer aretaic, deontological and teleological moral arguments. (I have another agenda,

which is removing morality from the provenance of religious hermeneutics and placing it in the practical realm, where, it is quite obvious, everyone can do ethics and morality and law and politics and economics and such, albeit with varying success.)

The Roman Catholic faith sui generis does not bring de novo perspectives to the worldview table in the empirical, rational and practical realms (is my take). We do not substantively add to the discourse on worldviews anything other than our unique evaluative perspective, our particular anagogical focus, our suite of ultimate concerns --- all of these hermeneutical positions taken together in a constellation of certain empirical, rational and practical positions. At least those stars (positions) don’t move under our hermenutical impetus, alone.

Faith, then, is not Knowing with a lower case “k” or upper case “K” and many religions, especially certain Protestant Christians, reject natural theology as an enterprise entirely. From the standpoint of categorizing same as religion, they are correct insofar as it is not really religion or theology but, rather, philosophy. They are incorrect, in my view, to the extent they suggest that demonstrating the reasonableness of one’s faith is unimportant --- because it is to some folks and I think should be for all. The are especially incorrect to issue an injunctive against natural theology coupled with some version of “justified true belief” based on immediate experience as knowledge. If it is knowledge, it must be quarried and processed by a community of inquiry subject to scientific rigor.

As for the merely rational endeavor, what is at stake is not logical soundness but only validity. Hence, in the case at hand, re: the existence or reality (a peircian nuance), the only knowing or Knowing involved, as far as I’m concerned, is that one can see that this or that argument is valid re: God, god, godde, brute reality or what have ya. These arguments are all consistent with all the available empirical data. I’m not suggesting this is some a priori necessity, only that this it how it seems to be for now.

Issues of epistemic justification and warrant are philosophic, from both rational and practical realms, and must be framed up within the findings of evolutionary psychology in the empirical realm. In the hermeneutical realm there are certain beliefs taken as properly basic, self-evident, but I’m no foundationalist or evidentialist. So the Reformed arguments against the foundationalists, to me, is a parlor game.

Coming full circle to any question of sound, sounder or soundest--- from a coherentistic and pragmatistic perspective, speaking propositionally and not hermeneutically, which is to say, speaking from the realm of philosophy and not that of faith, using orthopraxis as an authentication of orthodoxy ... to be continued ... because terms like know and Know and faith require disambiguation and epistemological axioms like those of virtue, foundational and nonfoundational approaches must be agreed upon prior to manipulating data and ideas regarding warrant and justification. IOW, with no consensus or common groud on epistemological theory, we would argue past one another re: soundness issues.

However, exploration of, and forming a beachhead of, theoretical epistemological common ground is the whole point of my endeavor (and pretty much always has been my topic du jour). The previous answer WAS my short answer. And I left the question begging regarding what might be the cognitive content of belief. Surely it has some cognitive implications.

But I wanted to make clear the overall thrust of my critique. And this involves the careful parsing of perspectives per my categories of concern.

If after considering what I have offerred as a preliminary response, you’d like me to go into the heady nuance of distinguishing, for instance, between ”referencing” and “description,” between the “regulative” and “descriptive,”  between the “regulae fidei” and “praeambula fidei “ --- then I’ll gladly

proceed. I’d at least like to precisely locate any impasses because those typically present opportunities to grow and learn.

I’ll share some teaser quotes:

1) It follows that we have, as Christians, no ultimate explanations; that there are, for us, no final solutions. The Christian, says Rahner, “has less ’ultimate’ answers which he could throw off with a ‘now the matter’s clear’  than anyone else.”

2) It therefore follows, from this distinction between reference and description, that not all questions concerning the possibility of true speech about God are questions concerning the possibility of offering true descriptions of God. Lonergan’s work in this area has been criticized for handling the historical evidence to woodenly and schematically, and, according to Avery Dulles, Lindbeck’s theory of doctrines “unduly minimizes [their] cognitive and expressive import.” The legitimacy of these criticisms can be accepted without (as it seems to me) undermining the central contention that the primary function of Christian doctrine is regulative rather than descriptive. Nicholas Lash

3) Contemplation is neither the statement of a set of postulates discovered by the assiduous effort of the human mind, nor some sort of doctrinally denuded reverie. A.N. Williams

4) Janet Soskice makes the point well: “To be a realist about the referent is to be a fallibilist about knowledge of the referent ... So the theist may be mistaken in his beliefs about the source and cause of all ... for fixing a referent does not on this account guarantee that the referent meets a particular description.” Christopher Mooney

5) It is not just a matter of observation, but of realization. It is not something abstract and general, but concrete and particular. It is a personal grasp of the existential meaning and value of reality. Thomas Merton

Again, surely faith has some cognitive implications?

Yes, but its primary function is regulative and not descriptive.

Those quotes, above, are all in context here: http://bellsouthpwp.net/p/e/per-ardua-ad-astra/contemplation.htm

which is the locale of my blackboard or storyboard—not a widely circulated cybervenue, just an aid to my ruminations.

In context, Rahner was a transcendental thomist and one of the most brilliant theologians of the last century. The transcendentalist school (a la Kant) tended to be a pioristic, rationalistic, sort of platonic. One distinction I think Rahner would have been driving at is, perhaps, the difference between comprehensibility and apprehensibility, implying that incomprehensibility does not obviate intelligibility. There could be that ”absolutely ultimate,” however, in the platonic sense. In that regard, I wouldn’t buy it. Since he was a thomist, however, I know he would have been informing his aristotelian perspective neoplatonically and that the empircist-aristotelian thrust of his regnant thomism would keep any rationalist-realist or idealist impulse at bay.

But, allow me a disambiguation of my own.

All one has to do to change the meaning of ultimate in any metasystem is to change that system’s axioms. Voila, a new ultimate.

A favorite pasttime, and legitimate maneuver, of philosophers is to attack another’s definitions and look for logical inconsistencies therein. This isn’t a bad place to start. If the definitions are inconsistent or ambiguous, who cares about the premises and logical validity?

The Kaufman maneuver works for a system whose terms are univocally applied to all elements of that system. When the terms are applied equivocally across two different systems that are being related analogically, one does need to talk about ultimate and Ultimate. However tautological the definition of God, in terms of primal causality and primal this and primal that, the fact remains that such a definition predicates God vs creatures equivocally and invokes an analogy. Divine attributes are better described, however, as eminent.

Your follow-up questions should be:

1) Two systems? Why multiply ontologies? What about Occam’s Razor?

2) Related only analogically? How, then, does one in any way affect the other? Isn’t there going to be a causal disjunction?

Subject: Re: What does unconditional mean?

Correct. Unconditional virtue is predicated of God and not of creatures, hence, it is called theological. If it manifest, even for a moment, in a creature, it would only be through infusion.

But there is another sense of the term unconditional. I meant unconditional in the sense that any existential orientation to such theological virtues was not conditioned on empirical, rational and practical considerations but transcends them.

Faith, being hermeneutical, is not evidential.

The coin of the perspectival realm of the 1) empirical is evidential, objectively 2) rational is experiential, subjectively 3) practical is prudential, morally & pragmatically and 4) hermeneutical is evaluational.

To more directly answer your question, yes, we need unconditional and Unconditional, when predicating creaturely attributes versus theological attributes.

The essence of theological discourse is equivocal predication of God and creatures. If one’s metasystem’s axioms are in any way dualistic and invoke analogical notions, equivocity is necessary.

All Kaufman is doing, and this is valid, however trivial, is pointing out that a monistically conceived metasystem can employ univocity. It is still just as much a tautology as the dualistic system.

This is a philosophical stalemate not a theological finding. Really, I wasn’t “using” Wilber any more than any of the other philosophical & psychological paradigms I was, sometimes more loosely and sometimes more rigorously, associating within and amongst those quadrants. IOW, it wasn’t distinctly jungian vs wilberian vs lonerganian or what have ya. However, one must concede that Wilber’s architectonic is comprehensive and a great heuristic, even if not exhaustive. I always have in the back of my mind the classical causations: material, formal, instrumental, final and efficient—and always associate them with the ontological, epistemological, axiological, teleological and cosmological arguments for God. It follows that if truth, beauty, goodness, love and being (Plato’s Five Categories) are also attributes of God, that ... thus and such and thus and such.

Nowadays, science looks at material and efficient causation in terms of mass and energy and the space-time plenum but has no use for a) final causation or teleology b) formal causation or c) being itself, and considers taking existence as a predicate of being as a pure tautology. The phrase “Being exists,” they say, is a redundancy. It gives us no new information. As for any primordial nothingness, or nothingness per se, that is a reification, a figment of an overactive imagination (upon which all of thomism is based, btw).

HOWEVER, just because something is tautological does not mean it is not also true. So being excited, or not, over THAT things are, or enjoying an ”intuition of being” is one of those hermeneutical things, a matter of interpetation. It is like choosing to be a solipsist or not. If someone doesn’t want to go there, one has no empirical or rational recourse to take them there. (There are some pretty good practical arguments though ...)

So, just like 1) Being, where one can unconditionally posture themselves to be impressed by the very fact of existence (or just take it for granted as a brute fact)

so, too, with truth, beauty, goodness and love. And excitement about existence (Being) is a response that can be given in any situtation, despite any set of circumstances. That, for me, would make for a nice definition of mysticism, which I consider a theological virtue.

But problems you say? with truth and beauty and goodness?

Can they also elicit commitments and similarly robust responses from us vis a vis being given in any situtation, despite any set of circumstances?

Well, there are theological virtues for them, too. For truth, we have faith. For beauty, we have hope. For goodness, we have mercy and compassion.

Mysticism, faith, hope, mercy and love can be given to reality in any situtation, despite any set of circumstances. (Not humanly, alone, but ... still ...)

Once we get past the empirical, rational and practical realms to the hermeneutical realm, we are precisely in that sphere of human concern that is anagogical (which means about what we hope for), that is aspirational, that speaks of our desires, that addresses our deepest longings and our ultimate concerns. The empirical, rational and practical spheres of concern are proximate. The hermeneutical is ultimate. It goes BEYOND the empirical, rational and practical but not at all WITHOUT them. It looks at the truth, beauty, goodness, being and love we have tasted toward some Source --- with a conviction regarding things not seen. None of this is unreasonable and neither are certain alternative perspectives. I should qualify that it doesn’t have to be unreasonable or doesn’t have to abandon the rational and empirical, like so many do.

I like that - quadrants, levels, lines and moments. Certainly, Wilber already has another word for that though? The closest wilberian concept for mapping such moments is Wilber’s Grid of Experiences, which addresses religious experience but generically could include all experience. So, maybe Helminiak’s spheres/foci can be nestled with a more broadly conceived Grid of Experiences and the wilberian word for moment is, quite simply, experience! Using Wilber’s 4QAL as a context, what I mapped did not address any developmental or stage levels. And it really wasn’t a mapping of the generic quadrants. And it wasn’t even a mapping of what Wilber would call a stream (or line or intelligence). It wasn’t addressing intelligences per se or modes of knowledge. What I was mapping was really Helminiak’s spheres of concern or perspectives. The holonic nature of it all, the self-nesting dynamic, makes it hard to disambiguate. As you know, these foci of concern are more closely related to the idea of different academic disciplines: science vs philosophy and so on.

Would it be fair to say that Helminiak’s spheres of concern represent where any given individual takes all of his quadrants, levels, lines and states and directs them, as a whole, toward reality? I think these perspectives, or spheres of concern, most correspond with what we would call “moments” of human knowledge/experience. IOW, in addition to 1) quadrants, 2) levels (and states), and 3) lines (streams), we would add 4) moments [for instance, van Beeck thus distinguishes moments of human knowledge from elements of human knowledge; analogous, too, to such moments that describe the different ”activities” of our faculties (understanding, will, etc) in prayer per Merton’s sanjuanian account].

So, just like spiral dynamics would represent but one line among many, the Value meme line, which is incredibly important for spirituality, I am only mapping four moments among many others. A moment is thus the focus of all of one’s quadrants/levels/lines on this or that human activity.

I like that - quadrants, levels, lines and moments. Certainly, Wilber already has another word for that though? The closest wilberian concept for mapping such moments is Wilber’s Grid of Experiences, which addresses religious experience but generically could include all experience. So, maybe Helminiak’s spheres/foci can be nestled with a more broadly conceived Grid of Experiences and the wilberian word for moment is, quite simply, experience! I’d say that they are not really associated more w/ one vs another quadrant but are nested within each quadrant. They may, however, moreso come to the fore (and be noticed in sharper relief) as we engage in one activity (or turn to one focus of concern) or another as a matter of emphasis. You’ll thus note what I called epistemological, aesthetical, ethical and hermeneutical strands in each quadrant. You’ll note that, in turn, moving from one quadrant to another, the way these strands manifest will change, which is to say that different aesthetical, ethical or epistemological theories would tend to be emphasized in each quadrant. It takes some familiarity with such theories of course to make the connection. re: to associate Beauty with positivism and the objective realm seems to overlook the importance of the arts (“I” and “We” expressions) in manifesting beauty. Again, note how the aesthetic is nested within those other quadrants. My associations, however implicitly, derive from classical causation. The causation I have always most associated with science is efficient causation. In turn, it is most associated with the apparent contingent nature of reality and cosmological arguments for God’s existence. The etymological root of cosmology, of course, is that of beauty, especially that associated with symmetry. It is that nonrational intuition that inspires one to spontaneously look for patterns, for equal and opposite reactions, for a God that does not play dice, for the other side of an equation, for a missing element in the Periodic Table, etc Aesthetic sensibility is a large driving factor in positivistic endeavors, however much certain scientists might fail to recognize this otherwise unspoken, unacknowledged criterion of their search. It is Christianity’s commitment to the contingent nature of the universe, to classical efficient causation, to cosmological arguments (beauty) that birthed science, ergo ... re: Same goes for Goodness, which is every bit as much manifest in the other quadrants as in the objective/plural, “Its.” Correct. Nonethless, as we move from the empirical and rational realms to the practical realm, the idea of goodness is associated moreso with prudential judgment (recall Kant’s critique of pure reason vs practical

reason). Prudential judgment consists of both moral judgment (ethical concerns) and practical judgment (pragmatic concerns). Here we think of axiological arguments for God’s existence. This is Wilber’s social realm wherein reside social institutions and structures, not just economic but also political and legal (again, ethical and axiological and contractual relationships). ”Its” being the interobjective realm evokes, for me, ideas of the conceptual, where third order abstractions get manipulated by the map-makers of reality (like INTPs). If science is the perinoetic and math & some philosophy the dianoetic, then this realm is clearly ananoetic, where the analogical imagination freely roams in elaborating metaphysics and theories of everything --- not uninformed by the empirical and logical realms but going beyond them (and testing the TOE’s using practical criteria and reductio ad absurdum arguments rather than mere logic or science, alone). Well, understandably, some items are more facilely associated, shoehorned ... others not. I have gathered different views from diverse sources, below, some pertaining to revealed and natural theology, some addressing faith and reason, others speaking to the reality of contemplation, all integrally and holistically conceived. What these authors say about one dyad, in my view, can justifiably be said about the others. I have gathered these materials in support of a notion I may choose to defend one day, which is that contemplation, broadly conceived, is the highest form of epistemic virtue and, as such, is the illuminative beacon that might best guide both mystic and scientist in their encounter with reality, proximate and ultimate. As for any distinctions between natural and theological virtue, acquired/active and passive contemplation, that is not treated here. 1) Natural religion and positive religion, we have argued, do not exist except in a relationship of mutual dependence. Consequently, both are legitimately alleged in the service of mutual critique, lest both cease to be religion and lest both end up distorting true humanity. Do natural religion and positive religion have equal standing in the relationship? In other words, is the relationship between the two symmetrical? Or are they related asymmetrically--- that is to say, by way of a hierarchical relationship? ... any hierarchy occurs, not between two separable elements, but between two distinguishable moments that are related to each other by way of mutual interpenetration. The attribution of hierarchical superiority to one, therefore, does not entail the attribution of a separate existence to it. F.J. van Beeck, __God Encountered__ pp 108-09 2) ... even though theology, as instanced by Aquinas and Rahner, has traditionally opened the systematic exposition of the Christian faith by an analysis of natural religious knowledge, this has never served to deny that the Christian faith is epistemologically prior. F.J. van Beeck, __God Encountered__ pp 139 3) Augustine examines numerous vestigia trinitatis, or, structures in the human mind that parallel the divine Trinity. Viewed in this way, the treatise's epistemological claim is that because we are like God, we can come to knowledge of God by looking at ourselves. There are numerous objections counting against this reading, however. One immediate reason to reject this interpretation of the vestigia's function is that Augustine explicitly denies one can extrapolate from the natural world to God. ... ... Second, he is aware of the difficulties inherent in extrapolation from creation to God, because of the profound difference between the Uncreated and the created. A.N. Williams, "Contemplation," __Knowing the Triune God__ edited by Buckley & Yeago, pg. 122 The vestigia, then, are a tool for penetrating belief and grasping it yet more fully, not a means for establishing the contents of faith independently of, or prior to, Scripture. pg 123 Here we see the distinctiveness of Augustine's epistemology: to know God certainly entails mastery of information, but it also entails personal contact. pg. 130 The inseparability of knowledge and love in the De Trinitate testifies to Augustine's holistic anthropology: there is no possibility of the true engagement of one human faculty with God in the absence of the engagement of the whole person. pg. 130 His point is not so much that human beings resemble God --- as we have seen, he is as acutely aware of the ontological divide as any other Christian thinker --- but that what is inseparable in God must also be inseparable in us. The vestigia provide not a lesson in anthropology or natural theology, but in epistemology. Specifically, they make the claim that the knowledge and love of God are as inseparable as the persons of the Trinity. ... A second way of asserting the unity of knowledge and love is to point to the unity of human nature itself ... pp. 134-5 ... the status of contemplation in Augustine's thought is ambiguous, seeming to belong exclusively neither to activity nor to product. ... No more does contemplation belong exclusively either to the intellect or to the will. pg. 138 ... implicitly, it also states a relation between spheres of Christian life that have in our time been sundered from one another. Because personal apprehension of God must include both knowledge and love, Augustine's epistemology indicates that we cannot separate theology from spirituality as we have done increasingly since the Enlightenment. pg. 143 Contemplation is neither the statement of a set of postulates discovered by the assiduous effort of the human mind, nor some sort of doctrinally denuded reverie. pg. 144 The contemplative character of theology points to not only a disciplinary, but an existential unity. Just as the contemplation that is theology cannot be separated from the contemplation that is prayer, so an authentically Christian existence consists in a unity, in virtue of which this life is inseparably wedded to the next. pg. 147 4) At this point I touch upon complex issues in metaphysics and epistemology about the relationship between the lives we lead and the beliefs we hold. As Bruce Marshall suggests, our thinking about the relations between "teaching" and "practice" is interwoven in complex ways with our convictions about the triune God who creates us and saves us in Word and Spirit. That is, "[o]nly the Spirit whom Jesus sends from the Father can teach us to recognize in the narratively identified Jesus the Father's own icon, and to interpret and assess all of our beliefs accordingly." And the "school in which the Spirit teaches us these hard won skills" is the Church. But the schooling is not just schooling in such teachings or beliefs (e.g., from catechism classes at home and in local congregations to college, university and seminary seminars). It is such schooling only as we learn to engage "in a rich and distinctive array of practices and attitudes, including worship and prayer in the name of the triune God, and love of neighbor after the pattern of Christ." James J. Buckley, "The Wounded Body," __Knowing the Triune God__ edited by Buckley & Yeago, pg. 221 5) And because the intellectualism that James deplored has done at least as much damage in theology and in philosophy, we can wholeheartedly welcome his insistence that reality is richer than reflection; that it is not by pure reason alone that we can take our bearings and find our way (quite apart from the fact that reason is never as pure, as devoid of passion and particular interest, as its advocates suppose it to be); that quality of feeling is no less important to our well- being than quality of argument ...

Nicholas Lash, _Easter in Ordinary__, pg 86 It is these disjunctive contrasts and, with their aid, the confining of the territory of the personal to the realm of the individual, private feeling and emotion, which renders the Jamesian account at once so seductive and so dangerous. The situation is not lacking in tragic irony. By calling us back from the deathdealing rigidity of institutional order, and from the divisiveness of intellectual debate, to some primordial realm of pure experience in which the individual may "apprehend" himself to "stand in relation" to that "continuum of consciousness" of which we each form part, James sought to secure firm foundations for religious truth, prospects for progress, and a basis for social harmony. And yet, the foundations turn out to be nothing firmer than the fragile optimism of an excited ego entertaining dubious hypotheses concerning the paranormal. pg. 88 ... a context in which the account given of what it is to be in relation to God was not locked into feeling at the expense of thought, or into private individual states of mind at the expense of public behavior and intersubjective patterns of thought and inquiry. It would, finally, be a context in which --- if the distortions of intellectualism (in James' sense) are to be avoided --- the heart is known to be no less important for the attainment of truth than the head, and in which the test bed of truth is acknowledged to be experience. pg. 105 ... it is when such distinctions are hardened into dichotomies that the trouble starts: for when did you last find yourself simply "feeling," without the slightest play or engagement of the mind, or simply "thinking," without the slightest interest, excitement or distaste? pg. 134 If, for von Hugel, the essence of the scientific method is to be found ( as we shall see) in the submission of all claims whatsoever to empirical testing, then the "essence of Christianity" is, for him, to be found in the revelation of "personality" and in the fostering and production of "persons." ... ... Christian experience, on this account, is experience of participation in what we might call a school for the production of persons. pg. 148 Reacting rather sharply to what he calls my "unremitting attack on positive analogy," Brown appeals to Wittgenstein's remark that, logically "positive and negative descriptions are on the same level" with negative propositions presupposing positive ones and vice versa. ... ... I accept the warning that the way of negation is misused if it serves, in practice, to furnish us with just the kind of information about God the possibility of which it in principle denies. This is not, however, the moral that he himself draws from this warning. "Precisely because negatives are so often simply disguised positives," he says, " the only really 'disciplined way of unknowing' is to admit that one can say nothing at all." pg. 233 It follows that we have, as Christians, no ultimate explanations; that there are, for us, no final solutions. The Christian, says Rahner, "has less 'ultimate' answers which he could throw off with a 'now the matter's clear' than anyone else." And when he say that "all human knowing ... is enfolded in an incomprehensibility which forms an image of the divine incomprehensibility where God reveals himself as the one without a name," he means, I think, that it is in living in "holy insecurity," in openness to each other and all truth, not as possessors or centers of the world, that we become, in some measure, the "image of the imageless one." pg. 240 God is not, of course, an object in space and time nor is he, for that matter, an object "outside" of space and time (whatever that would mean). Nevertheless, if God is not a figment of our imagination, if it is truly "in relation" to his incomprehensible mystery that we, and all things, exist and have their being, then, in our worship of God, our address to God, we may (and do) make mention of him. Except, therefore, on a purely expressivist account of our use of the term, such mention as we make of God in worship has cognitive implications: it entails the conviction that there is something that we can truly say "about" God. In other words, even if the "nature" of God is unknown to us, because we cannot understand God, cannot grasp him in concept or image, cannot render his mystery comprehensible, we may perhaps, nevertheless, in relation to him, living in his presence and responding to his address, successfully refer to God, make true mention of him. ... It therefore follows, from this distinction between reference and description, that not all questions concerning the possibility of true speech about God are questions concerning the possibility of offering true descriptions of God. pg. 257 And although such a view is very ancient, for the "notion of regulae fidei goes back to the earliest Christian centuries," the novel element in Lindbeck's proposal is that on his view the regulative function "becomes the only job that doctrines do in their role as church teachings." ... Lonergan's work in this area has been criticized for handling the historical evidence to woodenly and schematically, and, according to Avery Dulles, Lindbeck's theory of doctrines "unduly minimizes [their] cognitive and expressive import." The legitimacy of these criticisms can be accepted without (as it seems to me) undermining the central contention that the primary function of Christian doctrine is regulative rather than descriptive. pg. 260 It is time to go back to the beginning and to consider, once again, how we might move beyond or "transcend" autonomy without taking flight into either feeling or thought. The suggestion is that we can do so through conversion, through the awakening of basic trust, the actualization of "relation," the occurrence of community. ... ... In all relationship, all friendship, all community, there is an element of risk, because the grammar of relationship is trust rather than control, vulnerability rather than domination. ... .... the second difference does not lie between fact and feeling, or between word and idea, but rather between "address" and "presence," clarification and community. pg. 281 Autodidact and polymath, von Hugel, for all his erudition, was not a specialist in any one particular academic discipline. Everything that came his way was grist to his mill, and it seems likely that his tendency to lumber, like some unchained beast, across the neatly cordoned gardens of academic specialization, partly accounts for the neglect from which he has suffered ..." pg. 143 [talking about johnboy here? ouch!] 6) There is no reason in principle ... to think that nonfoundationalist philosophy could not prove helpful in illuminating Catholic commitments on any number of issues, especially the proper relationship between faith and reason. John E. Thiel, _Senses of Tradition_, pg. 121 7) Janet Soskice makes the point well: "To be a realist about the referent is to be a fallibilist about knowledge of the referent ... So the theist may be mistaken in his beliefs about the source and cause of all ... for fixing a referent does not on this account guarantee that the referent meets a particular description." Christopher Mooney, _Theology and Scientific Knowledge_, pg. 17 "Rational argument in theology," says Ian Barbour, "is not a single sequence of ideas, like a chain that is as weak as its weakest link. Instead, it is woven of many strands, like a cable many times stronger than its strongest strand." pg. 17 Here we have a source of knowledge that readily acknowledges the theological implications of both a weak and strong anthropic principle, whatever its value for science. What we must be clear about is that these theological implications have not one but two epistemological lines --- lines that are distinct in principle, with radically different sources, subject matter and modes of inquiry. Hence there is no question of casting disparate data into a single mode, either deducing a divine creative and salvific action in Jesus Christ from the anthropic arguments of science or finding in Christian revelation information about the physical structure and specific history of the world. ... ... There is an apt analogy here: these data are like two meridians on the sphere of the Christian mind. Because Christians believe God to be the source of each, the two can be examined critically at the equator for signs of both their present consonance and their possible future convergence at some pole of common vision. pg 63 ... whatever science can tell us about the structure and behavior of matter in the universe is of immense importance for theology, insofar as it provides insight into how God has actually been acting creatively in the realms of mater and energy. Christian revelation by itself says nothing about these specific realms, yet whatever science discovers about them, provisional though it may be, belongs to the totality of human knowledge within which Christian faith must be lived. This is why the full anthropic principle in its two versions can have such illuminative power as a methodological tool for Christian scientists and theologians. On the meridian of science, the principle says not only that the emergence of intelligent life on earth depended on all the fine- tuning extending back to the Big Bang; it also suggests that the fact of intelligence in the universe actually requires that all of these delicately balanced laws of nature be exactly as they are. The principle as a scientific principle thus provides data otherwise lacking on the meridian of theology, where Christians believe they already know about God's design of the cosmos for human life, but have no idea how God has actually gone about this designing process. While neither meridian's data depend upon those of the other, the thoughtful Christian can obviously draw insight into reality from both. ... ... The thoughtful scientist, on the other hand, might possibly as a scientist do the same. For if there was in fact a Big Bang, as is generally accepted in science today, then this looks a lot like the act of a creator such as the one Christians (and others) have always believed in; or, minimally, it is not incompatible with this belief. pg 64 8) It is not just a matter of observation, but of realization. It is not something abstract and general, but concrete and particular. It is a personal grasp

of the existential meaning and value of reality. Thomas Merton, __The Inner Experience__, pg 60 Contemplation does not back away from reality or evade it. It sees through superficial being and goes beyond it. This implies a full acceptance of things as they are and a sane evaluation of them. The "darkness" of the contemplative night is not a rejection of created things. On the contrary, the contemplative in some way finds and discovers things as they really are, and enjoys them in a higher way when he rises above contacts with them that are merely sensual and superficial. ... The neurotic, on the other hand, cannot accept reality as it is. He withdraws into himself and, if he sees things at all, sees only that aspect of them which he can bear to see, and no other. Or at least he tries to. pg 111 9) This is why Merton tells us over and over again that contemplation is a state of heightened consciousness. "Contemplation," he writes, "is the highest expression of man's intellectual and spiritual life. It is life itself, fully awake, fully awake, fully active, full aware that it is alive." One is reminded of Evelyn Underhill's words: "Only the mystic can be called a whole man, since in others half the powers of the self always sleep." William Shannon, __Something of a Rebel__, pg. 78 10) According to John Cassian, liturgical prayer bursts forth in a wordless and ineffable elevation of the mind and heart which he calls "fiery prayer"--- oratio ignita. Here the "mind is illumined by the infusion of heavenly light, not making use of any human forms of speech but with all the powers gathered together in unity it pours itself forth copiously and cries out to God in a manner beyond expression, saying so much in a brief moment that the mind cannot relate it afterward with ease or even go over it again after returning to itself. Thomas Merton, __Contemplative Prayer__, pg. 47 11) I accepted the Cogito ergo sum with less reserve than I should have, although I might have had enough sense to realize that any proof of what is selfevident must necessarily be illusory. If there are no self-evident first principles, as a foundation for reasoning to conclusions that are not immediately apparent, how can you construct any kind of philosophy? If you have to prove even the basic axioms of your metaphysics, you will never have a metaphysics, because you will never have any strict proof of anything, for your first proof will involve you in an infinite regress, proving that you are proving what you are proving and so on, into the exterior darkness where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth. [johnboy notes that Merton exhibits a little cartesian anxiety here, which does not impress nonfoundationalists.] Thomas Merton, __The Seven Storey Mountain__, pg.84 12) First of all, the contemplative life demands detachment from the senses, but it is not a complete rejection of sense experience. It rises above the level of reasoning; yet reasoning plays an essential part in the interior ascesis without which we cannot safely travel the path of mysticism. Mystical prayer rises above the natural operation of the intelligence, yet it is always essentially intelligent. Ultimately, the highest function of the human spirit is the work of the supernaturally transformed intelligence, in the beatific vision of God. Nevertheless, the will plays an integral part in al contemplation since there is, in fact, no contemplation without love. Love is both the starting point of contemplation and its fruition. ... ... Furthermore, contemplation presupposes ascetic action. By this interrelation of the work of intelligence, will, and the rest of our being, contemplation immolates our entire self to God. Thomas Merton, __The Ascent to Truth__, pg. 13 Therefore, it must be made quite clear that traditional Christian mysticism, although it is certainly not intellectualistic in the same sense as the mystical philosophy of Plato and his followers, is nevertheless neither antirational nor anti-intellectualistic. ... ... The Church does not seek to sanctify men by destroying their humanity, but by elevating it, with all its faculties and gifts, to the supreme perfection which the Greek Fathers called "deification." pg. 16 Fearing that domestic peace is no longer possible, faith barricades itself in the attic, and leaves the rest of the house to reason. Actually, faith and reason are meant to get along happily together. pg.33 ... secular philosophers seem unable to make up their minds whether or not there are such things as law of contradiction or of causality, although they live in the midst of scientific developments that bear witness to both these fundamental principles of thought. ... ... Not that they don't have brilliant or well-trained minds, but in their approach to ultimate metaphysical problems their minds are all but paralyzed by a philosophical equipment that is worse than ineffectual: it leaves them in doubt as to the nature of being, of truth, and even sometimes of their own existence. ... ... On that level, we are not dealing with faith, but with the rational preambles to faith. pg. 37 ... ... faith has, for its material object, truths which are so profound and which so far exceed our intelligence that they are called --- and in the highest sense-- mysteries. It is quite obvious that these truths are not easy to understand and that they present tremendous intellectual difficulty. However, it is not at all true to say that the mysteries of faith are unintelligible or that their intelligibility does not matter. pg. 42 We receive enlightenment only in proportion as we give ourselves more and more completely to God by humble submission and love. We do not first see, then act; we act, then see. ... ... And that is why the man who waits to see clearly, before he will believe, never starts on the journey. pg. 48 ... ... St. John of the Cross regarded the First Commandment as a summary of the entire ascetical and mystical life, up to and including Transforming Union. He tells us in fact that his works are simply an explanation of what is contained in the commandment to "love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy strength." He writes: "For herein man is commanded to employ all his faculties and desires and operations and affections of his soul in God so the ability and strength of his soul may serve for no more than this." pg. 55 To sum up: our abstract considerations of false mysticism have shown us that all false mysticism misconceives the proper roles of knowledge and love in contemplation, as well as the essence of contemplation itself. pg. 72 It is not so much the presence of concepts in the mind that interferes with the "obscure" mystical illumination of the soul, as the desire to reach God through concepts. There is therefore no question of rejecting all conceptual knowledge of God but of ceasing to rely only on concepts as a proximate means of union with Him. pg. 89 According to this false view the phenomenal world, the body with its senses, language, concepts, logic, the reasoning mind, the will that is moved by love --- all must be silenced and rejected. ..... ... The kind of asceticism that literally seeks to destroy what is human in man in order to reduce the spirit to an innate element that is purely divine is founded on a grave metaphysical error. The gravity of that error ought to be immediately apparent from the very fact that man's spiritual and psychological health depends on the right order and balance of his whole being --- body and soul. pg. 109 The passage from philosophical understanding to faith is marked by a gift of ourselves to God. The moment of transition is the moment of sacrifice. The passage from faith to that spiritual understanding which is called contemplation is also a moment of immolation. It is the direct consequence of a more complete and radical gift of ourselves to God. pg. 116 In other words, grace does not destroy nature, but elevates it and consecrates it to God. Men do not becomes saints by ceasing to be men. ... ... Reason must serve us in our struggle for perfection. But it does not fight under its own standard. Reason alone is not our captain. It is enlisted in the service of faith. ... ... The great paradox of St. John of the Cross is that his asceticism of night cannot possibly be practiced without the light of reason. It is by the light of reason that we keep on traveling through the night of faith. pg. 155 St. John of the Cross aims at nothing more or less, in his asceticism, than the right ordering of man's whole being ... ... "The soul that is perfect is wholly love ... all its actions are love, and it employs all its faculties and possessions in loving." pg. 157 Let me explain in a way that ought to be acceptable even to those who secretly lament the fact that they do not have infinite stomachs, in order to devour all the fried chicken in the universe. You cannot gain the possession of all the being and all the goodness contained in all the food in the world by grimly sitting down to the task of eating everything in sight. Despite the ambitions of Gargantua, our bodies are not equipped for this feat. ... ... Nevertheless, all the reality that exists, and all the goodness of everything that exists and is good, can be spiritually tasted and enjoyed in a single metaphysical intuition of being and goodness as such. The clean, intellectual delight of such an experience makes all of the inebriation procured by wine look like a hangover. pg. 197 The true fulfillment of reason as a faculty is found when it can embrace the truth simply and without labor in the light of a single intuition. pg.

204 We have seen that in the natural order our knowledge proceeds from the intuitive grasp of a few self-evident first principles, through a process of discursive reasoning on the evidence of sense experience, to conclusions in which the mind rests, once again, in intuition. It is the same in the order of faith. When we begin, the first principles of our belief are apt to be vague and cold to us, because we cannot see below their surface. ... ... Now, as Aristotle somewhere says, when a man is learning to play a harp he has to think of every movement he makes. He is conscious of the distinct effort to find each proper note and to strike the right string. But when he is a proficient player, he no longer is aware of what he is doing with his fingers. His mind is not concerned with each separate movement to be made. His hands move easily over the strings as though by instinct, and the mind of the musician is no longer concentrated on technical details but loses itself in the enjoyment of the music he is drawing from the instrument. In the same way, when we have learned how to meditate, the truths of God present themselves spontaneously to our minds. We do not always have to work them out by discourse; we need only to enjoy them in the deep and satisfying gaze of intuition. pg. 208 The function of discretion in the beginnings of mystical prayer is to discover the true way that lies between extremes. Reason guided by faith must be on the alert and give the will sufficient light to reject either impulses to overactivity or tendencies to sloth. pg. 229 Saint John is chiefly talking about what is to be done at the time of prayer. The activity he requires of the soul must be elicited by the understanding and will together. It is very simple. It has three stages or "moments." pg. 237 The function of the intelligence is to guarantee the purity of faith, hope and charity, not by much reasoning and subtlety but by the constant ascetical discernment between the illusions of subjectivism and the true light which comes from God. pg. 246 St. Thomas himself is there to prove that there is no reason why God should not pour out His purest graces of mystical prayer even upon a professor, just as St. Teresa remains a monument to the truth that God can raise you to ecstasy while you are trying to fry eggs. pg. 285 John of St. Thomas is one of those speculative theologians who cannot reach the average educated man except through a mediator who is willing to translate his thought into ordinary terms. The issues which concern such theologians are generally matters of such minute detail that this work of mediation is scarcely ever worth while. pg. 334 [another statement re: johnboy? ouch!] The good order of the soul with which we are concerned here is not simply an ethical or moral perfection. St. John of the Cross is not considering merely the level of perfection on which men refrain from cheating each other in business, go to Mass on Sundays, give alms now and then to the poor, and lend their lawnmower to the people next door without even cursing under their breath. pg. 163 But the very fact that all conversions do not have this experiential element and that, indeed, many conversions are hardheaded and "cold," lends weight to the thomistic argument which distinguishes bare faith from faith illumined by the Gifts. And I may add, parenthetically, that the convert whose faith is emotionally "cold" and is not inflamed with an element of quasi-mystical experience is not therefore less virtuous or less pleasing in the sight of God. It may, in fact, require great charity to allow oneself to be led, in spite of temperamental or hereditary disinclination, by force of rational demonstration alone, to an unemotional acceptance of the faith. pg. 212 13) If we do not try to be perfect in what we write, perhaps it is because we are not writing for God after all. In any case it is depressing that those who serve God and love him sometimes write so badly, when those who do not believe in Him take pains to write so well. I am not talking about grammar and syntax, but about having something to say and saying it in sentences that are not half dead. St. Paul and St. Ignatius Martyr did not bother about grammar but they certainly knew how to write. Imperfection is the penalty of rushing into print. And people who rush into print do so not because they really have anything to say, but because they think it is important for something by them to be in print. The fact that your subject may be very important in itself does not necessarily mean that what you have written about it is important. A bad book about the love of God remains a bad book ... [another statement re: johnboy? ouch!] Thomas Merton, __The Sign of Jonas__, pg. 59 14) In the last book to come to us from the hand of Raissa Maritain, her commentary on the Lord's Prayer, we read the following passage, concerning those who barely obtain their daily bread, and are deprived of most of the advantages of a decent life on earth by the injustice and thoughtlessness of the privileged: "If there were fewer wars, less thirst to dominate and exploit others, less national egoism, less egoism of class and caste, if man were more concerned for his brother, and really wanted to collect together, for the good of the human race, all the resources which science places at his disposal especially today, there would be on earth fewer populations deprived of their necessary sustenance, there would be fewer children who die or are incurably weakened by undernourishment." ... ... She goes on to ask what obstacles man has placed in the way of the Gospel that this should be so. It is unfortunately true that those who have complacently imagined themselves blessed by God have in fact done more than others to frustrate his will. Thomas Merton, __Contemplative Prayer, pg. 113

Want a person to laugh? Cannot order them to laugh. Must tell them a joke.

Want a person to love? Cannot order them to love you. Must give them a hug (or chocolates or roses or time and space).

Want to lead a person to Ultimate Reality? Must tell them a story and tell them a joke and give them a hug. What you write implies, properly, that the hermeneutical is unconditional. One’s commitment to the virtues of faith, hope and love are not derived from and do not depend on any findings in the practical, empirical or rational realms. That is why they are called faith, hope and love and not, rather, science, logic and pragmatics. And, yes, a TOE must include the hermeneutical. A TOE must include the rational, empirical and practical as well as the smell of apple pie. So, the Big TOE will have data, charts, graphs, diagrams ... and, necessarily will include .... stories. It is not fully constructed in a manner that lends itself solely to logical proof, empirical demonstration or practical experience ... but it would partially include those things ... along with a story ... that included jokes and tear-jerkers. That’s why it is called a metanarrative and not just a metaphysics. So, it will include some elements that can be proven, some that can be demonstrated, some that can be experienced ... ... all of which can be, more or less, KNOWN with varying degrees of confidence ... a confident assurance in things hoped for and a conviction of things not seen. Along with a fundamental trust in uncertain reality.

So, let me tell you this story ... from this book that addresses all of these levels --- empirical, rational, practical and hermenutical, although we call it literal-historical, allegorical-creedal, moral and anagogical: In the beginning was the Word ... Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty. Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher. He never owned a home. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put His foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself... While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves. While He was dying His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth - His coat. When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend. Nineteen, make that twenty, long centuries have come and gone, and today He is a centerpiece of the human race and leader of the column of progress. I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that were ever built; all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life.

I expanded on this: http://bellsouthpwp.net/p/e/per-ardua-ad-astra/mapping.html

With this:

The only de novo aspect to my scheme is the bifurcation of the evaluative into two separate approaches to reality: 1) the nonprudential evaluative akin to the concept of taste 2) the prudential evaluative - which bifurcates into two types of prudential judgment: a) moral and b) pragmatic. The first bifurcation I call the hermeneutical and the other the practical. Making this distinction seems to provide me a more robust paradigm for treating human epistemology. Any given human will approach reality as an integral entity employing rational, empirical, practical and hermeneutical perspectives. From the standpoint of human inferential capacities, we are, respectively, looking at a dance between deduction, induction and abduction (the peircean term for formulating hypotheses). I pirated the word “transduction” to indicate the noninferential character of the nonprudential evaluative nature of the hermeneutical perspective. (It is also evocative of viral memes in the cultural realm, but I won’t digress). The prefix, trans, for me, also indicates that, while we go beyond, we do not go without. Borrowing from Daniel Helminiak’s ideas, though heavily amended, these approaches to reality are hierarchical in the sense that those with narrower foci of human concern are both nested within and properly constrain those with broader foci. This is to say, then, that ”findings” of the empirical approach constrain those of the rational which further constrain those of the practical which still further constrain the hermeneutical. (Helminiak deals with the positivistic, philosophic, theistic and theotic. My categories genericize his to address all of epistemology, not just that of religious faith.) So, in a nutshell, what I describe includes elements of 1) primacy 2) autonomy 3) integral relatedness 4) holonic character and 5) hierarchical governance or constraint. Regarding primacy, I simply describe how the hermeneutical aspect is epistemologically privileged, which is only to say that, if the practical, rational and empirical findings in one’s approach to reality have not already dispossessed one of any elements within one’s worldview, one cannot be dispossessed of the remaining elements. Essentially, the hermeneutical only adds a nonprudential evaluative perspective, which does not lend itself to formal construction, empirical testing or rational demonstration. At this point, we can only fallback on practical considerations and the backdoor philosophy of the reductio ad absurdum (mindful that the counterintuitive is not an infallible guide to philosophic and positivistic truths). Primacy implies, all other things being equal, that the hermeneutical is privileged over the practical which is privileged over the rational which is

privileged over the empirical. Think of it as an epistemological entitlement program. One can have whatever hermeneutic one wants but practical considerations might give one pause (over against solipsism, for example). And so on and so forth. Join whatever philosophical school you like, but don’t tinker with the positivistic findings of science. Hierarchical constraint recognizes that --- all other things are not necessarily equal, ergo, one must inquire after the findings of the other approaches to reality and defer to them as one progressively broadens one’s focus of human concern. Thus, when it comes to the ways of relating science and religion, I am suggesting they are somewhat facile to the extent they do not recognize all of my nuancing, which, if they did, wouldn’t characterize the different ”ways” as necessarily mutually exclusive. To wit: 1) Two different hermeneutics could conflict and irresolutely so, if and only if all other findings are equal, empirically, rationally and practically. 2) The different approaches to reality, as represented by my categories, are independent, which is to say that they are methodologically autonomous. This is not to suggest, however, that they aren’t hierarchically constrained. 3) And so on and so forth, important distinctions not always yielding intractable dichotomies. Most of the epistemological -isms, especially those applied in the pejorative sense, arise from failures to properly nuance primacy, autonomy, hierarchical constraint and integral-relatedness, hence, rationalism, fideism, scientism, radical fundamentalism, etc. And I do not even maintain that this scheme has any a priori claim. Rather, it mirrors where human knowledge is at this point in time and results from our finitude, which we fallibly but inexorably seem to ameliorate through time. I do not have a problem with the idea that “science creates a metaphysics.”  Any attempts to do metaphysics must play by the same positivistic, philosophic and pragmatic rules. It doesn’t matter if you’re Thomas Aquinas or Max Tegmark. The descriptive IS evaluative. It IS an evaluative continuum (really and empirco-ratio-practical continuum) because the evaluative/practical ends up being the final arbiter of the empirical and rational stalemates. That the human will adopt a hermeneutic is inevitable. An IBE is thus conditioned by noninferential values, which serve to guide it. Propositional justification is still basic to doxastic justification, which might be really swift and repetitive retroduction. This doesn’t change the fact that there are prudential (pragmatic & moral) rationalities that are not wholly inferential. There is a difference between inferential and propositional. Practical and moral propositions might employ inference but they are motivated by different affective and aesthetic concerns.  The inferential, for its part, is similarly guided by values (e.g. IBE guided by values of hypotheses). The distinctions of functionalism vs structuralism, internalist vs externalist (re: justification vs knowledge), synthetic vs analytic, holistic vs modular, nature vs nurture, realism vs anti-realism, fact vs value, various positivist dichotomies and other alleged dichotomies might better be conceived as distinctions, although some dichotomies are likely true enough, especially in the realm of polynomial values, which can be truly binary.

In my view, the hypothetical virtues can lead us into a nonvirtuous epistemic posture, re: guiding an IBE (inference to the best explanation), as we change our aspirations from a mere HAS (hypothesis about something) to a comprehensive TOE.
Mapping the journey from an epistemology to a worldview by slicing it into its empirical, rational, practical and hermeneutical aspects and dicing it into its noninferential and inferential elements foundational approaches are defined by their combination of noninferential and inferential elements, the noninferential transcending empirical observation and rational demonstration In abduction, we are, inescapably and by definition, arguing from ignorance. Hypothetical virtues are our fallible attempt to mitigate but not eliminate same. That these virtues have exceptions is a given insofar as, if they did not, they'd otherwise be axioms of a purely algorithmic system. In other words, the reason we abduct is because our algorithmic, axiomatic inferences have been somehow thwarted in their pursuit of truth. We thus interpolate and extrapolate without knowing the full trajectory of the truth ... parabolic, hyperbolic, linear, etc Small parts of a parabola or hyperbola (HAS) may seem linear from a limited perspective, but if we interpolate or extrapolate such seeming linearity, we can widely miss the mark. Hypothetical virtues are really rules for linear interpolation and extrapolation. They become nonvirtuous very quickly for the elliptical, parabolic and hyperbolic (TOE). This is why philosophical naturalists must take heed that, in their anxiety to anihilate metaphysics, they do not also eliminate speculative cosmology and theoretical physics. Scientism is nothing more, then, than the making of linear interpolations and extrapolations on what could turn out to be a nonlinear reality, coupled with the hegemonistic agenda of insisting that everyone else do the same. The reason for science's success in probing reality could well have more to do with the circumscription of its aspirations (to step-wise inquiries of the next point on the investigative line) than with the efficacy of its methodologies. If it would only look bckward at its prior path of discovery, it would see the nonlinear trajectory of many of its breakthrough discoveries. This is why the counterintuitive and the reductio ad ansurdum is no sure guide to truth -- all because of the ad ignorantium, which is why we are abducting/hypothesizing in the first place. Hypotheses can be used to organize a system of beliefs without, necessarily, staking empirical, falsifiable claims. Such hypotheses can, themselves, be hypothetically fecund, spawning other hypotheses that are indeed refutable. The contingent nature of the universe is an example of one such hypothesis and, in fact, helped birth science, itself. (Cf. the works of Stanley Jaki)   Conservatism and tenacity of belief is only useful when one's beliefs are not otherwise false. Simplicity can ignore unavoidable complexity and best be interpreted as facility (peircean abduction) and not as ontological (multiplication of ontologies). Occam's Razor is a tie-breaker only

when explanatory adequacy has been attained. Probability and plausibility and intuitiveness are no sure indication of truth, so modesty is no reliable virtue.  

   
    Title   Precis   Background   Introduction   Basic Outline - structure   Focusing the Human Approach to Reality The Human Foci of Concern Background Helminiak and Lonergan Empirical Rational Practical Hermeneutical definitions rubrics     The Approach to Reality The Human Environed Reality Aspects of Human Knowing     psychological categories Benziger Jung Browning's Emergenetics MBTI Enneagram Maritain     Human Knowledge Manifold evaluative and rational continuua Gelpi's Evaluative Continuum fallibilism   Gelpi's Organon & Architectonic of Human Knowledge   philosophical schools 8 major categories     Wilber's Quadrants   Reality The Environing Reality Aspects of Reality divine attributes space time mass energy plenum     Preliminary Considerations   Foundations foundational theology of conversion Methods Dialectical Analysis Scholastic Notation overworked distinctions under-appreciated dichotomies essentials and accidentals rigorous definition and disambiguation of terms univocal, equivocal and relational predication of terms apophatic, kataphatic and eminent utilizing E-prime appreciating the analogical, which can be:             attributive (if real causes and effects are invoked) or             proportional (if we are invoking similarities in the relationships between two different pairs of terms).                         If such an similarity is essential to those terms we have a proper proportionality but                         if it is accidental we have an improper proportionality, a metaphor.  

  DISCUSSION - epistemological metacritique defined on its own terms   Focusing the Human Approach to Reality The Human Foci of Concern Background Helminiak and Lonergan Empirical Rational Practical Hermeneutical definitions rubrics     The Approach to Reality The Human Environed Reality Aspects of Human Knowing     psychological categories Benziger Jung Browning's Emergenetics MBTI Enneagram Maritain     Human Knowledge Manifold evaluative and rational continuua Gelpi's Evaluative Continuum fallibilism   Gelpi's Organon & Architectonic of Human Knowledge   philosophical schools 8 major categories     Wilber's Quadrants   Reality The Environing Reality Aspects of Reality divine attributes space time mass energy plenum   DISCUSSION - epistemological metacritique in dialogue with other perspectives thru dialectical analysis   Focusing the Human Approach to Reality The Human Foci of Concern Background Helminiak and Lonergan Empirical Rational Practical Hermeneutical definitions rubrics     The Approach to Reality The Human Environed Reality Aspects of Human Knowing     psychological categories Benziger Jung Browning's Emergenetics MBTI Enneagram Maritain     Human Knowledge Manifold evaluative and rational continuua Gelpi's Evaluative Continuum fallibilism   Gelpi's Organon & Architectonic of Human Knowledge   philosophical schools 8 major categories  

  Wilber's Quadrants   Reality The Environing Reality Aspects of Reality divine attributes space time mass energy plenum     PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS - TOWARD A MORE COMPELLING MORAILTY   Focusing the Human Approach to Reality The Human Foci of Concern Background Helminiak and Lonergan Empirical Rational Practical Hermeneutical definitions rubrics     The Approach to Reality The Human Environed Reality Aspects of Human Knowing     psychological categories Benziger Jung Browning's Emergenetics MBTI Enneagram Maritain     Human Knowledge Manifold evaluative and rational continuua Gelpi's Evaluative Continuum fallibilism   Gelpi's Organon & Architectonic of Human Knowledge   philosophical schools 8 major categories     Wilber's Quadrants   Reality The Environing Reality Aspects of Reality divine attributes space time mass energy plenum     FRONTIERS & CHALLENGES   Focusing the Human Approach to Reality The Human Foci of Concern Background Helminiak and Lonergan Empirical Rational Practical Hermeneutical definitions rubrics     The Approach to Reality The Human Environed Reality Aspects of Human Knowing     psychological categories Benziger Jung Browning's Emergenetics MBTI Enneagram Maritain    

Human Knowledge Manifold evaluative and rational continuua Gelpi's Evaluative Continuum fallibilism   Gelpi's Organon & Architectonic of Human Knowledge   philosophical schools 8 major categories     Wilber's Quadrants   Reality The Environing Reality Aspects of Reality divine attributes space time mass energy plenum   APPENDIX - IMPLICATIONS FOR CATHOLICISM   Focusing the Human Approach to Reality The Human Foci of Concern Background Helminiak and Lonergan Empirical Rational Practical Hermeneutical definitions rubrics     The Approach to Reality The Human Environed Reality Aspects of Human Knowing     psychological categories Benziger Jung Browning's Emergenetics MBTI Enneagram Maritain     Human Knowledge Manifold evaluative and rational continuua Gelpi's Evaluative Continuum fallibilism   Gelpi's Organon & Architectonic of Human Knowledge   philosophical schools 8 major categories     Wilber's Quadrants   Reality The Environing Reality Aspects of Reality divine attributes space time mass energy plenum  

  Foundationalism is incoherent. Coherentism is unfounded. Foundherentism is facile. Moderate, minimalist and fallibilist foundationalisms are oxymorons. Just kidding. Seriously, I only have an argument with classical and traditional foundationalism. As long as approaches are fallibilist, realist and not a prioristic, I'll leave it to the academic epistemologists to tease out the remaining nuances. As with metaethics, where I see room for incorporating elements of aretaic, deontological and teleological approaches, so too with epistemology and its virtue, correspondence and coherentist approaches. These distinctions needn't be dichotomies. In fact, most of my theological friends are nuanced foundationalists, which I consider unconsciously competent coherentists anyway. And I consider the peircean perspective quasifoundational, itself. The important thing is to, as Ted says, look over our shoulders at our leaps. If there is some elusive virtuous foundherentist epistemology, then our approach to reality will involve some element of noninferential justification, going beyond the noninferential but not without it. This squares okay with evolutionary psychology because we're not just little open-ended processors but self-interested processors (which leads Deacon, in his peircean account, to properly describe the computational fallacy ---re: philosophy of mind--- in addition to the genetic and memetic fallacies of Dawkins and Dennett). 1) Operating within each focus of human concern, as these foci broaden from the empirical to the rational and then practical perspectives, are all three types of inference: induction, deduction and abduction. 2) Induction and deduction seem straightforward enough. It's abduction, or hypothesis formulation, that seems to invite controversy. Since abduction is the weakest form of inference and merely winnows the possibilities, philosophers of science (e.g. Quine) have identified virtues to further guide (past abduction) our inferences to the

best explanation. Those include conservatism, modesty, simplicity, generality, refutability and precision. 3) At this juncture, we attend also to the nature of our analogies (attributive, proportional and metaphorical), the degrees of our abstractions (objectification, verbalization, classification, designation, etc), our equivocal and univocal predications and our scholastic notations (im/possibly, im/plausible, im/probable and un/certain), among other things epistemic. 4) It is because of practical considerations, such as competitions between values, such as human finitude, that we must develop such rubrics to guide our IBE (inferences to the best explanation). These rubrics include virtues of hypotheses and speculative grammar to guide our analogies and abstractions. 5) Questions: a) In theory, do these (should these) rubrics change when we apply them to 1) an hypothesis about something versus 2) a physical TOE versus 3) a philosophical TOE? b) Practically speaking, what happens when we apply these rubrics to these different types of conjecture? 6) My take: In my view, the hypothetical virtues can lead us into a nonvirtuous epistemic posture, re: guiding an IBE (inference to the best explanation), as we change our aspirations from a mere HAS (hypothesis about something) to a comprehensive TOE. I offer this in an attempt to locate the difference between a hege-monistic scientism and other worldviews. It might be, too, that fideistic religions could be described as those who altogether ignore such rubrics, going beyond and without inferential justification.
dialectical analysis - Quine, Kripke, Putnam, Fodor philosophical TOE uses a modal ontology of necessity plus an analysis of concepts? physical TOE uses a modal ontology of probability physics describes the actual peircean semantical and ontological vagueness   alternating conjecture & criticism searching for values to guide our search for facts confronted by a fact-value dichotomy? incoherent

of Hume's conclusions that, if that is what he believes, then we should count our teaspoons when he calls.
  The Prelude to Metaphysics - what's going on epistemologically I have sometimes, just for heuristic purposes, taken as axiomatic the peircian notion that the normative sciences (noetics, aesthetics and ethics) mediate between phenomenology and metaphysics. Invoking Maritain, I would translate that into the dianoetic mediates between the perinoetic (sciences) and the ananoetic (analogical and metaphorical). The dianoetic would correspond to the piercian coenoscopic and the perinoetic to the idioscopic. I think the hermeneutical doors that can open us to properly drawing the distinctions some have well made re: metaphysics, such doors as we all attempt to open when engaging in the ananoetic approach, differ with respect to the types of interpretive rooms into which they open. These rooms can be distinguished by the types of terms and concepts we employ as we move from one epistemic task to another. As such, these terms and concepts are variously employed as univocal or equivocal, attributive or proportional, analogical or metaphorical, verifiable or unverifiable (hence the utility of analytic and linguistic and semiotic approaches). Before we step into the great hermeneutical hall, along which these interpretive rooms are lined, we enter the popperian vestibule, wherein we encounter two doors, one labeled falsifiable, the other nonfalsifiable. Before we enter the popperian vestibule, though, we enter a kantianesque courtyard, the walkways of which lead us to the cottages of the quid juris and the quid facti, which is to say, in the former instance, to a consideration of the relations between ideas, in the latter, to a consideration of the relations between matters of fact. It is especially worthy of note that both the perinoetic and ananoetic approaches can advance in matters of fact, quid facti, independent of any relations of ideas, quid juris. In order to make such an advance, we must first enter the quid facti cottage, step into its popperian vestibule and unlock the falsifiable door. Therein we can proceed via that part of the socratic method that is consistent with the denying mode, with falsification, with the modus tollens. Therein, we are scientists. What about the quid juris cottage? Some claim to have never entered that cottage and I am just polite enough to take them at their word even as I point out that all of us were at least born therein, even if we soon thereafter exited never to return. I may elaborate on that thesis in a follow-up. I think I am resonating with some of you even if my articulation of same falls short. I am actually more interested in what happens when we enter the cottage quid juris and am positively intrigued by the lamplight that could be afforded therein by an evolutionary epistemology.

Upon Exiting and Re-entering the Cottage Quid Juris

In the kantian courtyard, immediately in front of the cottage quid juris, we can discern from the cacophony of voices such sayings as 1) we can model the rules but never explain them 2) we can see the truth of certain propositions but we cannot prove them 3) logic requires premises but it cannot prove those premises 4) reason is and ought to be the slave of the passions. These sayings usually lead to such exhortations as generally fall under the character of taste and see. In a sense, then, all of these voices are properly invoking Hume and heeding Godel. In this sense, then, in deliberating over the relations between ideas and not rather matters of fact, we are merely about rearranging givens, dealing with analytic truths and logical derivations. Whatever is going on outside in the courtyard in these meta-epistemological deliberations has previously been formed and conditioned by our tenancy within the cottage quid juris. In my view, a good description of the activities going on inside this cottage can best be captured under the lamplight provided by an account of the polanyian tacit dimension. It is also my thesis that this tacit dimension maps rather well over a) Maritain’s connaturality b) Peirce’s abduction c) non-intuitive immediate knowledge as conceived by Fries and advocated by Nelson d) Newman’s illative sense e) various epistemic desiderata of Platinga’s reformed epistemology f) even various epistemological strands in Eastern thought, Chinese, Indian and Buddhist inter alia. Even though running the risk of trivializing the distinctions between these approaches or too facilely claiming their complete overlap in my mapping exercise, let me make a few generalizations about them. What these accounts are about is the justification of the normative sciences. As such, they constitute grounding attempts of the dianoetic, coenoscopic or

philosophical approaches, including the logical/noetical, aesthetical, ethical and relational enterprises. This justification process grapples with problems of axiomatization, causal disjunction, circular reference, ensemble vouching, infinite regress, godelian constraints on formalization and others. More interestingly, however, this process is inescapably wrestling with problems of ineffability. This is due, in part, to the fact that, in our justification or grounding attempts of the dianoetic approaches, we appear to be discussing epistemic capacities of which people are not ordinarily aware, which is to say that we are considering human faculties of which we are ordinarily unconscious. For example, take this account from Maritain's Range of Reason of his knowledge through connaturality, which he adds to reason and intuition as a form of nonconceptual knowledge: “which is produced in the intellect but not in virtue of conceptual connections and by way of demonstration. ... ... ... In this knowledge through union or inclination, connaturality or congeniality, the intellect is at play not alone, but together with affective inclinations and the dispositions of the will, and is guided and directed by them. It is not rational knowledge, knowledge through the conceptual, logical and discursive exercise of Reason. But it is really and genuinely knowledge, though obscure and perhaps incapable of giving account of itself, or of being translated into words." So, too, we see from Peirce's account of abduction that he is discussing a faculty by which we make up new rules to explain novel and surprising facts, such abductive activities derived from the very structure of meaning, itself, as distinguished from any empirical hypotheses based on our sensory experience. In his account of abduction, in Peirce's Divisions of Science, he describes truths of which “come within the range of every man's normal experience” although they “escape the untrained eye precisely because they permeate our whole lives.”  So it goes also in the accounts we come across in Nelson’s friesian criticism in his affirmation of non-intuitive immediate knowledge and, hence, hisrejection of the dogmatic disjunction of reflection and intuition. Regarding Newman’s illative sense, which “operates without rules and which is incapable of being fully formalized or articulated,” Martin Moleski further writes: “It would be a rhetorical error--perhaps even a logical impossibility--to attempt a formal proof that the illative sense is the center of informal reasoning.” Moleski quotes from both Polanyi’s Personal Knowledge and his Tacit Dimension: "All knowledge is . . . either tacit or rooted in tacit knowing. This is why knowledge is always personal knowledge; were it not for the tacit dimension of knowing, there would be no bar to the systematic depersonalization of knowledge. Because the root of knowledge always descends into silence, we know more than we can tell. Whatever articulate knowledge we possess is the focal point of tacit, subsidiary awareness.”  This is all well and good but there is still a question begging, which is: what, ergo, is to be gained by re-entering the cottage quid juris? Isn’t all of this courtyard repartee rather a matter to be taken up congenially over afternoon crumpets and tea in our faculty clubs, or even antipathetically when quaffing light lagers in preparation for some virtual hermeneutical barroom brawl on an internet listserv? If there is something to be gained, how does one come to fancy such a notion? After all, haven’t we pretty much concluded that the justification and grounding of the coenoscopic, dianoetic and philosophical approaches, what Peirce has called our normative sciences, can proceed neither from proof (by way of logical derivation, analytic propositions or tautologies) nor from demonstration (display of an intuitive ground)? In other words, how could we possibly discover the very quid facti of the quid juris ? Friesian scholar Kelley Ross answers this in his discussion of Leonard Nelson's Socratic Method and Critical Philosophy: “[P]ropositions constituting the "critique of knowledge," i.e. epistemology itself, are empirical and a posteriori rather than non-empirical and a priori, as are the propositions of ethics and metaphysics.”  In Ross’ view, then, epistemological propositions, while proceeding neither from proof nor demonstration, can proceed from deduction. He points out that such doesn't prove our epistemological propositions of non-intuitive immediate knowledge, but it does provide us the same cognitive force as any of our demonstrations of intuitive grounds. Thus it is we discover our faculties of non-intuitive immediate knowledge, connaturality, abduction, the illative sense, the tacit dimension, so to speak, our epistemic desiderata. Thus it is that such faculties can ground our coenoscopic, dianoetic and philosophical enterprises, justifying the normative sciences, according to Ross but in my lingo, using the same Socratic method and logic of falsification as employed in science, which is essentially the use of our imaginative faculties to construct rules to explain phenomena followed by the testing of the logical consequences of those rules against those phenomena (Ross' lingo). This grounding remains provisional, which is to say, fallibilistic, even as the nondiscursive and ineffable are given some voice in this approach to truth that combines the coherence and correspondence theories. To me this moreso feels like an essential pragmatism that can then be nuanced and taken in many different directions, all of which would embrace a robust empiricism, many affirming, in principle, an ontological undecidability, at least, or an ontological hypothetical, at best. After all, in principle, we don’t return from either nondual states of awareness (mysticism) or nonconceptual modes of knowledge (the various epistemic desiderata considered above) equipped with ontological conceptualizations, not even inchoately, at least not with anything that would be of use to others rationally, even if, hopefully, we do return with whatever consolations as might strengthen us to compassionately serve humankind while also aspiring to responsible stewardship of the cosmos. If we do consciously pursue metaphysics, then it is because we experience myriad efficacies in their provision of modeling power for this ever-elusive reality and we sense a progressive tightening of our epistemological grasps of this reality, this notwithstanding our built-in godelian constraints. We find that we are increasingly improving our cartographical skills as we interpretively map the landscape of reality, both regarding our internal milieu vis a vis our studies of consciousness in the theoretical cognitive sciences, as well as regarding our external environs vis a vis our studies of cosmology in the theoretical physical sciences. Where direct evidence eludes us, we proceed in pursuit of indirect evidence, applying increasingly rigorous and powerful statistical analyses, in search of an indispensable explanatory adequacy, albeit perennially provisional. If we choose to eschew an explicit metaphysics, giving just a wink and a nod to those who’d attempt to articulate an implicit metaphysic for us, perhaps it is because we have surveyed the diverse philosophical and metaphysical categories, movements and schools, and have found them all to be cascading like a waterfall down a hermeneutical cliff, one collapsing metaphor after another after yet another, all serving no other purpose but to fog up the interpretive landscape of reality with their rising mists of so many dense, obfuscatory droplets of jargonistic esoterica. Perhaps we have found that, in our case, such a fog can only be burned away by the rising bright Helios of the perinoetic approach of science, which otherwise brilliantly illuminates reality’s horizon with its penetrating inferential rays of induction, abduction and deduction, a stellar luminosity that apparently shines in whatever direction that horizon may seem to recede, even into the deepest structures of matter, even beyond the earliest moments after the Big Bang, perhaps even coming soon to a cartesian theater near you [very near] ? What we all seem to agree on is that there is a great dance between chance and necessity, between the random and systematic, between chaos and order, between paradox and pattern, between truth and falsity, between right and wrong, between good and evil, between the beautiful and ugly, between

pleasure and pain, between love and hate. In this grand dosado, the above values seem to vary independently of one another, which is to say they exhibit a polynomic nature, the valences of their polarities yielding all sorts of ethical dilemmas, moral conundrums and theodicies. Kelley Ross has aptly described this polynomic reality using a slot machine metaphor where the valences/polarities of the values of right & wrong, good & bad, beautiful & ugly, sacred and unholy, are like separate rollers that give us a different combination with every pull of the arm in the game of life. The great religious traditions and ideologies cannot seem to even agree on what particular combinations yield various payoffs, much less a jackpot, or how such rewards come about in the first place. Somewhere between what Phil Hefner has described as our determinedness and embodiedness, on one hand, and as our autopoiesis and freedom, on the other hand, some of us have sneaking suspicions that we really are what Phil has called created co-creators, that the slot machine of life might still be rigged such that, in our collective pull of the lever, the rollers are still wholly, wholly Holy. Others have a sneaking suspicion that this game of life remains, rather, through and through, a contingency, but they report that this doesn’t mean for them that it isn’t a glorious contingency or that this mysterium isn’t both tremendum et fascinans ! I think we can all agree that it is a glorious contingency even while we may disagree on whether or not that description is comprehensive and exhaustive? Kelley Ross explains in his friesian theory of religious value based on Otto's numinosity: "If religion offers consolation that the world makes ultimate sense and has a meaning or a purpose, despite all evidence to the contrary, it is holy things that present the tangible (or perhaps intangible) quality of that consolation. Religion therefore reassures us that deep in the nature of things, whether here or in the hereafter, all the positive aspects are together. For religion the holy is precisely how the positive aspects of value are connected." I have met both religious naturalists and religious supernaturalists, who have plumbed such sacred depths, who despite otherwise disparate hermeneutics have confronted reality and its ambiguities and come away consoled, deeply grateful for life’s positive aspects, even if ever mindful of life’s negative aspects. Why so grateful? How so consoled? Well, that doesn’t really lend itself to formal construction has been my whole thrust. I’m just glad to be here and with gratitude to and for each of you.         Perhaps the naturalized epistemologist's commitment is to science. Epistemology is to become a part of science, or at least to be pursued by "scientific method", if we can figure out what the boundaries of that are. This is Quine's line in his famous essay, "Epistemology Naturalized". Well, on any halfway plausible way of drawing boundaries around "scientific method", the proposal to do epistemology only by scientific method would put virtually all actual epistemologists out of business - Quine included. At this point we might go back to trying to figure out what is allowable in a naturalistic reduction base for epistemological concepts, thus bringing us back to the kind of bafflement we encountered in thinking about naturalistic philosophy of mind. What Is Naturalism, that We Should Be Mindful of It? William P. Alston, Ph.D. http://leaderu.com/aip/docs/alston-naturalism.html

Professor Alston's office number is 315-443-5815.  Prof. Alston's e-mail address: wpalston@syr.edu
It is perhaps the tautological nature of hermeneutics that drives the adherents of opposing views a little crazy: Of course you would say THAT!   fact-value dichotomy in the search for virtues of hypotheses       Hartshorne, Peirce, Polanyi, Putnam, Whitehead, Haught

Physics and chemistry, therefore, not dealing with living and conscious beings as alive or conscious, but with all things only as constituted by matter and energy, do not investigate the values or disvalues of their objects, just as the European compositor setting up a text in Sanskrit knows only the shapes of the characters and nothing of their sound or meaning. Yet, while values and disvalues form no part of their subject-matter, physics and chemistry are necessarily guided, as intelligently conducted activities, by cognitive or intellectual values. As Polanyi argues in Chapter 6 of Personal Knowledge, without personal appraisals by scientists of what is interesting to science, scientific research could not begin or would lack direction. There would be only the haphazard accumulation of meaningless data. Polanyi distinguished three types of scientific value: precision, generality of application or scope of illumination, and intrinsic interest, all of which are spread unevenly over the natural sciences. Furthermore, every intellectual enquiry has to be guided by standards for sorting the true from the false, established facts from uncertain ones, interesting facts and problems from those which will tell us nothing new or significant, promising lines of enquiry from probable dead-ends, well-conducted from ill-conducted enquiry. They are what R.G. Collingwood called criteriological activities, ones which are not only rightly or wrongly performed, but ones of which the performers as they go along necessarily judge the success or failure of their own performances. Being trained in them includes coming to appreciate and observe the standards employed. All this Objectivism cannot recognise, for its own standard for knowledge is one in which personal employment of standards has no place and would render it all `subjective'. Richard T. Allen POLANYI'S OVERCOMING OF THE DICHOTOMY OF FACT AND VALUE
http://www.kfki.hu/~cheminfo/polanyi/9602/polanyi1.html positivist dichotomy fact value description prescription given normative is ought analytic theory synthetic fact tautological theory empirical content knowledge interest

        As we progressively broaden our focus of concern, turning our attention from the empirical, to the rational, practical and hermeneutical, we must reconsider what it is that makes an hypothesis virtuous.

Metaphysics claims necessary truth. Peirce says that metaphysics is not factual: it is an analysis of concepts. It is not a study of contingent, empirical facts. It is the analysis of concepts, but it gives us knowledge. Peirce says that just analyzing concepts can give us knowledge. CH What does an analysis of concepts entail? Just analyzing concepts can give us knowledge, if we mean by analyzing concepts that we are analyzing metaphysical modality, which is exactly what Peirce's 1stness, 2ndness and 3rdness entails. jss           metaphysics is evaluative if not factual? wrong question, false dichotomy
        1) To describe Reality, devise an Architectonic/Organon of Human Knowledge of Environing Realities, which would include ourselves. 2) To describe ourselves, devise such an account as would include the Human Knowledge Manifold as an Environed Reality, which would include both evaluative and rational continuua. 3) When devising a model of epistemic virtue (values), avoid the usual (and many) overworked distinctions and employ the very real but often underappreciated dichotomies. 4) In our modal arguments for this or that reality, we must rigorously define and disambiguate our terms. Employ such criteria that, if met, will guarantee the conceptual compatibility of any attributes we employ in our conceptualizations of this or that reality. In order to be conceptually compatible, while, at the same time, avoiding any absurdities of parodied logic, attributes must not be logically impossible to coinstantiate in our arguments and they must also be described in terms that define a reality's negative properties. For an example, see: http://www.iidb.org/vbb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=47897 and use your edit/find browser facility to scroll down quickly to the first occurrence of the word “negativity” and then also for the name of philosopher “Richard Gale” 5) In defining such attributes as will describe the various aspects of this or that reality, we must draw the proper distinctions between those aspects that are predicated a) univocally b) equivocally or c) relationally vis a vis other realities. Univocal is defined as having one meaning only. Equivocal means subject to two or more interpretations. These accounts necessarily utilize some terms univocally and others equivocally. The equivocal can be either simply equivocal or analogical. The analogical can be attributive (if real causes and effects are invoked) or proportional (if we are invoking similarities in the relationships between two different pairs of terms). If such an similarity is essential to those terms we have a proper proportionality but if it is accidental we have an improper proportionality, a metaphor. And we use a lot of metaphors, even in physics, and they all eventually collapse. 6) In our attempts to increase our descriptive accuracy of this or that reality, we must be clear whether we are proceeding through a) affirmation [kataphatically, the via positiva] b) negation [apophatically, the via negativa] or c) eminence [unitively, neither kataphatically nor apophatically but, rather, equivocally]. We must be clear whether we are proceeding a) metaphorically b) literally or c) analogically [affirming the metaphorical while invoking further dissimilarities].The best examples can be found in the book described at this url = http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/0-271-01937-9.html , Reality and Mystical Experience by F. Samuel Brainard. 7) We must be clear regarding our use of First Principles: a) noncontradiction b) excluded middle c) identity d) reality's intelligibility e) human intelligence f) the existence of other minds and such. See Robert Lane’s discussion: http://www.digitalpeirce.fee.unicamp.br/lane/p-prilan.htm 8) We must be mindful of godelian (and godelian-like) constraints on our argumentation: a) complete accounts in formal systems are necessarily inconsistent b) consistent accounts in formal systems are necessarily incomplete and c) we can model the rules but cannot explain them within their own formal symbol system [must re-axiomatize, which is to say prove them in yet another system, at the same time, suggesting we can, indeed, see the truth of certain propositions that we cannot otherwise prove]. We thus distinguish between local and global explanatory attempts, models of partial vs total reality.See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gödel's_incompleteness_theorem 9) We must employ semantical [epistemological] vagueness, such that for attributes a) univocally predicated, excluded middle holds and noncontradiction folds b) equivocally predicated, both excluded middle and noncontradiction hold and c) relationally predicated, noncontradiction holds and excluded middle folds. Ergo, re: First Principles, you got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run. See Robert Lane’s discussion: http://www.digitalpeirce.fee.unicamp.br/lane/p-prilan.htm 10) We must understand and appreciate the integral nature of the humanknowledge manifold (with evaluative and rational continuua) and Lonergan's sensation, abstraction & judgment: sensation & perception, emotion & motivation, learning & memory, intuition & cognition, non- & pre-inferential, abductive inference, inductive inference, deductive inference and deliberation. 11) We must appreciate and understand the true efficacy of: abduction, fast & frugal decision-making, ecological rationality, evolutionary rationality, pragmatic rationality, bounded rationality, common sense; also of both propositional and doxastic justification, and affective judgment: both aesthetic and prudential, the latter including both pragmatic and moral affective judgment. See http://www.free-definition.com/Abduction-(logic).html 12) We must draw the distinction between peircean argument (abduction, hypothesis generation) and argumentation (inductive & deductive inference).See http://www.bu.edu/wcp/Papers/Reli/ReliKess.htm 13) We must draw a distinction between partial apprehension of a reality and total comprehension of a reality. 14) We must employ dialectical analysis, properly discerning where our different accounts of this or that reality a) agree b) converge c) complement or d) dialectically reverse. We must distinguish between this dialectic and hegelian synthesis and resist false irenicism, facile syncretism and insidious indifferentism, while exercising due care in our attempts to map conceptualizations from one account onto another. Also, we should employ our scholastic distinctions: im/possible, im/plausible, im/probable and un/certain. 15) We must distinguish between the different types of paradox encountered in our various attempts to describe this or that reality a) veridical b) falsidical c) conditional and d) antinomial. We must recognize that all metaphysics are fatally flawed and that their root metaphors will eventually collapse in true antinomial paradox of a) infinite regress b) causal disjunction or c) circular referentiality [ipse dixit - stipulated beginning or petitio - question begging]. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox 16) As part and parcel of the isomorphicity implied in our epistemological vagueness, we must employ ontological vagueness, which is to say that we must prescind from the necessary to the probable in our modal logic. This applies to the dance between chance & necessity, pattern & paradox, random & systematic, order & chaos.See http://uhavax.hartford.edu/moen/PeirceRev2.html and the distinctions between necessary and non-necessary reasonings and also probable deductions.

17) We must properly integrate our classical causal distinctions such that the axiological/teleological [instrumental & formal] mediates between the epistemological [formal] and cosmological/ontological [efficient/material]. These comprise a process and not rather discrete events.This follows the grammar that the normative sciences mediate between our phenomenology and our metaphysics. See http://hosting.uaa.alaska.edu/afjjl/LinkedDocuments/LiszkaSynopsisPeirce.htm 18) We must recognize the idea of emergence is mostly a heuristic device inasmuch as it has some descriptive accuracy but only limited predictive, hence, explanatory adequacy. It predicts novelty but cannot specify its nature. Supervenience is even more problematical, trivial when described as weak (and usually associated with strong emergence), question begging re: reducibility when described as strong (and usually associated with weak emergence).See http://www.molbio.ku.dk/MolBioPages/abk/PersonalPages/Jesper/SemioEmergence.htmlSeehttp://www.nu.ac.za/undphil/collier/papers/Commentary% 20on%20Don%20Ross.htmSee http://www.nu.ac.za/undphil/collier/papers.html 19) We must avoid all manner of dualisms, essentialism, nominalism and a priorism as they give rise to mutual occlusivities and mutual unintelligibilities in our arguments and argumentations. The analogia relata (of process-experience approaches, such as the peircean and neoplatonic triadic relational) that is implicit in the triadic grammar of all of the above-described distinctions and rubrics can mediate between the analogia antis (of linguistic approaches, such as the scotistic univocity of being) and the analogia entis (of substance approaches, such as the thomistic analogy of being). This includes such triads as proodos (proceeding), mone (resting) and epistrophe (return) of neoplatonic dionysian mysticism. It anticipates such distinctions as a) the peircean distinction between objective reality and physical reality b) the scotistic formal distinction c) the thomistic distinction between material and immaterial substance, all of which imply nonphysical causation without violating physical causal closure, all proleptical, in a sense, to such concepts as memes, Baldwinian evolution, biosemiotics, etc See http://consc.net/biblio/3.html 20) We must avoid the genetic and memetic fallacies of Dawkins and Dennett and the computational fallacies of other cognitive scientists, all as described by Deacon.See http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/epc/srb/srb/10-3edit.html 21) We must denominate the "cash value" of getting our metaphysics correct in terms of the accuracy of our anthropologies and psychologies because getting our descriptive and normative accounts correct is preliminary to properly conducting our evaluative attempts, which will then inform the prescriptions we devise for an ailing humanity and cosmos, rendering such prescriptions efficacious, inefficacious, and even harmful. This signals the importance of the dialogues between science, religion, philosophy and the arts. Further regarding “cash value” and the “pragmatic maxim” and all it might entail, asking what difference this or that metaphysical, epistemological or scientific supposition might make, if it were true or not, can clarify our thinking, such as better enabling us to discern the circular referentiality of a tautology, e.g. taking existence as a predicate of being (rather than employing a concept such as “bounded” existence). 22) We must carefully nuance the parsimony we seek from Occam's Razor moreso in terms of the facility and resiliency of abduction and not necessarily in terms of complexity, honoring what we know from evolutionary psychology about human abductive and preinferential process.See http://www.digitalpeirce.fee.unicamp.br/p-scifor.htm See http://kybele.psych.cornell.edu/~edelman/Psych-214-Fall-2000/w7-3-outline.text 23) At wits end, confronted with ineluctable paradox, in choosing the most compelling metaphysic, there is always the reductio ad absurdum. And remember, whatever is going on in analytical philosophy, semeiotics and linguistics, you can know thus much is true: A single, even small, thermonuclear explosion can ruin your whole day. 24) Regarding multiverse accounts, Polkinghorne rejects any notion that science can say anything about same if science is careful and scrupulous about what science can actually say, and this may be true, but it does seem that such an explanatory attempt can be indirectly determined at least consonant with what we are able to directly observe and/or indirectly measure (thinking of Max Tegmark's ideas). It is plausible, for example, insofar as it is an attempt to explain the apparent anthropic fine-tuning. 25) Importantly, not all human knowledge is formal, which is what so much of the above has been about! 26) The major philosophical traditions can be described and distinguished by their postures toward idealism & realism, rationalism & empiricism, which are related to their various essentialisms and nominalisms, which can all be more particularly described in terms of what they do with the PEM (excluded middle) and PNC (noncontradiction) as they consider peircean 1ns, 2ns and 3ns, variously holding or folding these First Principles as they move from univocal to equivocal and relational predications. 27) With the peircean perspective taken as normative, PEM holds for 1ns and 2ns and PNC holds for 2ns and 3ns (hence, PNC folds for 1ns and PEM folds for 3ns). 28) In a nominalistic perspective, PNC folds for 3ns and classical notions of causality and continuity are incoherent. 29) In an essentialistic perspective, PNC properly holds for 3ns but PEM is erroneously held for 3ns, suggesting that modal logic drives algorithmically toward the necessary and not, rather, the probable. 30) The nominalist’s objection to essentialism’s modal logic of the necessary in 3ns is warranted but folding PNC in 3ns is the wrong response, rendering all notions of causality incoherent.. The essentialist’s objection to nominalism’s denial of any modal logic in 3ns is warranted but holding PEM in 3ns is the wrong response, investing reality with an unwarranted determinacy. The peircean affirmation of PNC in 3ns and denial of PEM in 3ns resolves such incoherency with a modal logic of probability and draws the proper distinctions between the univocal, equivocal and relational predications, the univocal folding PNC in 1ns, the equivocal folding PEM in 3ns and the relational holding PNC and PEM in 2ns. 31) The platonic rationalist-realist perspective is impaired by essentialism. The kantian rationalist-idealist perspective is impaired by both essentialism and nominalism. The humean empiricist idealist perspective is impaired by nominalism. The aristotelian empiricist realist perspective, with a nuanced hylomorphism, is not impaired by essentialism or nominalism but suffers from substantialism due to its atomicity, which impairs relationality. Finally, even a process-relational-substantial approach must make the scotistic/peircean formal distinction between objective reality and physical reality. Radically deconstructive, analytical, and even pragmatist, approaches seize upon the folding of PNC in 1ns and then run amok in denying PNC in 3ns and sometimes even 2ns. Phenomenologists bracket these metaphysical considerations. Existentialists argue over what precedes what, existence vs essence, losing sight of their necessary coinstantiation in 2ns in physical reality and failing to draw the proper distinction between the objective reality of an attribute (its abstraction & objectification) and the physical reality where it is integrally instantiated. Neither essence nor existence precedes the other in physical reality; they always arrive at the scene together and inextricably intertwined. 32) The peircean grammar draws necessary distinctions between univocal, equivocal and relational predications of different aspects of reality but, in so doing, is a heuristic that does not otherwise predict the precise nature or degree of univocity, equivocity or relationality between those aspects. In that sense, it is like emergentism, which predicts novelty but does not describe its nature or degree. To that extent, it no more resolves philosophy of mind questions, in particular, than it does metaphysical questions, in general. What it does is help us to think more clearly about such issues placing different perspectives in dialogue, revealing where it is they agree, converge, complement and disagree. Further, it helps us better discern the nature of the paradoxes that our different systems encounter: veridical, falsidical, conditional and antinomial, and why it is our various root metaphors variously extend or collapse in describing different aspects of reality. It doesn’t predict or describe the precise nature of reality’s givens in terms of primitives, forces and axioms but does help us locate how and where univocal, equivocal and relational predications are to be applied to such givens by acting as a philosophical lingua franca between different perspectives and accounts. Where are reality’s continuities and discontinuities in terms of givens? The peircean grammar speaks to how they are related in terms of 1ns, 2ns and 3ns but not with respect to nature or origin or to what extent or degree (if for no other reason that not all phenomena are equally probable, in terms of 3ns). Is consciousness a primitive along with space, time, mass and charge? Is it emergent? epiphenomenal? explained by Dennett? described by Penrose? a hard problem as per Chalmers or Searle? an eliminated problem as per the Churchlands? an intractable problem as per William James? Each of these positions can be described in peircean terms and they can be compared and contrasted in a dialogue that reveals where they agree, disagree, converge and complement. They cannot be a priori arbitrated by the peircean perspective; rather, they can only be consistently articulated and framed up hypothetically on the same terms, which is to say, in such a manner that hypothetico-deductive and scientificinductive methods can be applied to them and such that a posteriori experience can reveal their internal coherence/incoherence, logical consistency/inconsistency, external congruence/incongruence, hypothetical consonance/dissonance and interdisciplinary consilience/inconsilience.

33) Do our various metaphysics collapse because of an encounter with paradox that is generated by a) the nature of the environing realities, which are being explained? b) the exigencies of the environed reality, which is explaining? or c) some combination of these? Is the paradox encountered veridical, falsidical, conditional or antinomial? Did we introduce the paradox ourselves or did an environing reality reveal its intrinsic paradoxical nature? We can describe reality’s categories (such as w/ CSP’s phaneroscopy), a logic for those categories (such as CSP’s semeiotic logic) and an organon that relates these categories and logic (such as CSP’s metaphysical architectonic) and then employ such a heuristic in any given metaphysic using any given root metaphor. When we do, at some point, we will encounter an infinite regress, a causal disjunction or circular referentiality (petitio principii, ipse dixit, etc), and we might, therefore, at some level, have reason to suspect that those are the species of ineluctable paradox that even the most accurate metaphysics will inevitably encounter. If circular referentiality is avoidable, still, infinite regress and causal disjunction are not and our metaphysics will succumb to one or the other, possibly because these alternate accounts present complementary perspectives of reality and the nature of its apparent continuities and discontinuities (as measured in degrees of probability or as reflected in the dissimilarities between various givens and their natures and origins, some belonging to this singularity, some to another, this or another realm of reality variously pluralistic or not). 34) What it all seems to boil down to is this: Different schools of philosophy and metaphysics are mostly disagreeing regarding the nature and degree, the origin and extent, of continuities and discontinuities in reality, some even claiming to transcend this debate by using a continuum of probability. The manifold and multiform assertions and/or denials of continuity and discontinuity in reality play out in the different conclusions of modal logic with respect to what is possible versus actual versus necessary regarding the nature of reality (usually in terms of givens, i.e. primitives, forces and axioms), some even claiming to transcend this modal logic by substituting probable for necessary. Even then, one is not so much transcending the fray as avoiding the fray if one does not venture to guess at the nature and degree, origin and extent, of reality’s probabilities, necessities, continuities and discontinuities. Sure, the essentialists and substantialists overemphasize discontinuities and the nominalists overemphasize continuities and the dualists introduce some false dichotomies, but anyone who claims to be above this metaphysical fray has not so much transcended these issues with a new and improved metaphysics as they have desisted from even doing metaphysics, opting instead for a meta-metaphysical heuristic device, at the same time, sacrificing explanatory adequacy. This is what happens with the emergentistic something more from nothing but and also what happens in semeiotic logic (for infinite regress is just as fatal, metaphysically, as causal disjunction and circular referentiality). 35) Evaluating Hypotheses:Does it beg questions?Does it traffic in trivialities? Does it overwork analogies?Does it overwork distinctions? Does it underwork dichotomies?Does it eliminate infinite regress? 36) Not to worry, this is to be expected at this stage of humankind’s journey of knowledge. However, if the answer to any of these questions is affirmative, then one’s hypothesis probably doesn’t belong in a science textbook for now. At any rate, given our inescapable fallibility, we best proceed in a community of inquiry as we pursue our practical and heuristic (both normative and speculative) sciences. 37) Couching this or that debate in the philosophy of science in terms of dis/honesty may very well address one aspect of any given controversy. I have often wondered whether or not some disagreements are rooted in disparate approaches to epistemic values, epistemic goods, epistemic virtues, epistemic goals, epistemic success, epistemic competence or whatever is truly at issue. I don't know who is being dishonest or not, aware or unawares, but I think one can perhaps discern in/authenticity in a variety of ways. 38) In trying to sort through and inventory such matters, through time, I have come to more broadly conceive the terms of such controversies, not only beyond the notions of epistemic disvalue, epistemic non-virtue and epistemic incompetence, but, beyond the epistemic, itself. Taking a cue from Lonergan's inventory of conversions, which include the cognitive, affective, moral, social and religious, one might identify manifold other ways to frustrate the diverse (but unitively-oriented) goals of human authenticity, whether through disvalue, non-virtue or incompetence. 39) Our approach to and grasp of reality, through both the heuristic sciences (normative and theoretical) and practical sciences, in my view, is quite often frustrated by the overworking of certain distinctions and the underworking of certain dichotomies, by our projection of discontinuities onto continuities and vice versa. And this goes beyond the issue of the One and the Many, the universal and the particular, the local and the global, beyond the disambiguation and predication of our terms, beyond the setting forth of our primitives, forces and axioms, beyond the truth of our premises and the validity of our logic, beyond noetical, aesthetical and ethical norms, beyond our normative/prescriptive, speculative/descriptive and pragmatic/practical enterprises, beyond all this to living life, itself, and to our celebration of the arts --- to the relational. 40) In this vein, one failure in human authenticity that seems to too often afflict humankind is the overworking of the otherwise valid distinctions between our truly novel biosemiotic capacities and those of our phylogenetic ancestry and kin, invoking such a human exceptionalism (x-factor) as divorces us from nature of which we're undeniably a part. Another (and related) failure, in my view, is the overworking of distinctions between the different capacities that comprise the human evaluative continuum, denying the integral roles played by its nonrational, prerational and rational aspects, by its ecological, pragmatic, inferential and deliberative rationalities, by its abductive, inductive and deductive inferential aspects, by its noetical, aesthetical and ethical aspects. These otherwise distinct aspects of human knowledge that derive from our interfacing as an environed reality with our total environing reality (environed vs environing realities not lending themselves to sharp distinctions either?) are of a piece, form a holistic fabric of knowledge, mirrored by reality, which is also of a piece, not lending itself fully to any privileged aspect of the human evaluative continuum, not lending itself to arbitrary dices and slices based upon any human-contrived architectonic or organon of knowledge, for instance, as might be reflected in our academic disciplines or curricula. 41) So, perhaps it is too facile to say religion asks certain questions and employs certain aspects of the human evaluative continuum, while philosophy asks others, science yet others? Maybe it is enough to maintain that science does not attempt to halt infinite regress because humankind has discovered, a posteriori, that such attempts invariably involve trafficking in question begging (ipse dixit, petitio principii, tautologies, etc) or trivialities or overworked analogies, often employ overworked distinctions or underworked dichotomies, often lack explanatory adequacy, pragmatic cash value and/or the authentication of orthodoxy by orthopraxis? Maybe it is enough to maintain that science does not attempt to halt infinite regress because humankind now maintains, a priori, with Godel, that complete accounts are inconsistent, consistent accounts, incomplete? Maybe it is enough to maintain that science traffics in formalizable proofs and measurable results from hypotheses that are testable within realistic time constraints (iow, not eschatological)? 42) Or, maybe we needn't maintain even these distinctions but can say an hypothesis is an hypothesis is an hypothesis, whether theological or geological, whether eliminating or tolerating the paradox of infinity, and that the human evaluative continuum, if optimally (integrally and holistically) deployed, can aspire to test these hypotheses, however directly or indirectly, letting reality reveal or conceal itself at its pleasure --- but --- those hypotheses that are intractably question begging or tautological, that overwork analogies and distinctions and underwork dichotomies, that lack explanatory adequacy and pragmatic cash value --- are, at least for now, bad science, bad philosophy, bad theology, bad hypotheses? They are not authentic questions? Pursue them if you must. Back-burner them by all means, ready to come to the fore at a more opportune time. But don't publish them in textbooks or foist them on the general public or body politic; rather, keep them in the esoteric journals with a suitable fog index to match their explanatory opacity. 43) In the above consideration, it was not my aim to resolve any controversies in the philosophy of science, in particular, or to arbitrate between the great schools of philosophy, in general. I did want to offer some criteria for more rigorously framing up the debates that we might avoid talking past one another. It does seem that certain extreme positions can be contrasted in sharper relief in terms of alternating assertions of radical dis/continuities, wherein some distinctions are overworked into false dichotomies and some real dichotomies are ignored or denied. 44) Thus it is that the different “turns” have been made in the history of philosophy (to experience, to the subject, linguistic, hermeneutical, pragmatic, etc). Thus it is that nominalism, essentialism and substantialism critique each other. Thus it is that fact-value, is-ought, given-normative, descriptive-prescriptive distinctions warrant dichotomizing or not. Thus it is that the One and the Many, the universal and particular, the global and local, the whole and the part invite differing perspectives or not. Thus it is that different aspects of the human evaluative continuum get singularly privileged without warrant such as in fideism and rationalism or that different aspects of the human architectonic of knowledge get over- or under-emphasized such as in radical ffundamentalism and scientism. 45) Thus it is that certain of our heuristic devices get overworked beyond their minimalist explanatory attempts such as when emergence is described as weakly supervenient, which is rather question-begging, or as strongly supervenient, which is rather trivial. And yet one might be able to affirm some utility in making such distinctions as a weak deontology or weak teleology, or between the strongly and weakly anthropic? 46) Thus it is that idealism and realism, rationalism and empiricism, fight a hermeneutical tug of war between kantian, humean, aristotelian and platonic perspectives, transcended, in part, even complemented by, the analytical, phenomenological and pragmatic approaches. Thus it is that various

metaphysics must remain modest in their heuristic claims of explanatory power as we witness the ongoing blending and nuancing of substance, process, participative and semiotic approaches. Thus it is that our glorious -ologies get transmuted into insidious –isms. 47) Thus it is that all of these approaches, whether broadly conceived as theoretical, practical and normative sciences (including natural sciences, applied sciences, theological sciences and the sciences of logic, aesthetics and ethics), or more narrowly conceived as the more strictly empirical sciences, offer their hypotheses for critique by an authentic community of inquiry --- neither falling prey to the soporific consensus gentium (bandwagon fallacy) and irrelevant argumentum ad verecundiam (appeal to authority) nor arrogating to one’s own hermeneutic some type of archimedean buoyancy for all sure knowledge, as if inescapable leaps of faith weren’t required to get past unmitigated nihilism and solipsism, as if excluded middle, noncontradiction and other first principles could be apodictically maintained or logically demonstrated, as if knowledge and proof were indistinct, as if all human knowledge was algorithmic and could be formalized. 48) Miscellany: In the peircean cohort of the American pragmatist tradition, one would say that the normative sciences mediate between phenomenology and metaphysics, which could reasonably be translated into philosophy mediates between our scientific methodologies and our cosmologies/ontologies.So, there is a proper distinction to be made between our normative and theoretical sciences, both which can be considered heuristic sciences, and yet another distinction to be made between them and what we would call our practical sciences. 49) I think it would be fair to say that we can bracket our [metaphysics] and our [cosmologies & ontologies] when doing empirical science but, at the same time, we do not bracket those aspects of philosophy that comprise our normative sciences of logic, aesthetics and ethics, which contribute integrally and holistically to all scientific endeavors and human knowledge pursuits. At least for my God-concept, properly conceived, suitably employed, sufficiently nuanced, carefully disambiguated, precisely defined, rigorously predicated --- to talk of empirical measurement would be nonsensical. 50) I more broadly conceive knowledge & "knowing" and my conceptualization turns on the distinction between knowing and proving, the latter consisting of formal proofs. Since a God-concept would comprise a Theory of Everything and we know, a priori, from Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems, that we cannot prove such employing any closed formal symbol system, a "proof" of God is out of the question. 51) Charles Sanders Peirce offers another useful distinction, which turns on his observations regarding inferential knowledge, which includes abduction, induction and deduction. Abductive inference is, in a nutshell, the generation of an hypothesis. The peircean distinction is that between an argument and argumentation. Peirce offers, then, what he calls the "Neglected Argument for the Reality of God," which amounts to an abduction of God, distinguishing same from the myriad other attempts to prove God's existence, whether inductively or deductively through argumentation. Even the scholastic and thomistic "proofs" realize their efficacy by demonstrating only the reasonableness of certain beliefs, not otherwise aspiring to apodictic claims or logically conclusive demonstrations. Peirce made another crucial distinction between the "reality" of God and the "existence" of God, considering all talk of God's existence to derive from pure fetishism, affirming in his own way, I suppose, an analogy of being rather than a univocity. 52) Given all this, one may find it somewhat of a curiosity that Godel, himself, attempted his own modal ontological argument. Anselm's argument, likely considered the weakest of all the classical "proofs" of God, was first called the "ontological" argument by Kant and was more recently given impetus by Hartshorne's modal formulation. I think these arguments by Godel and Hartshorne would be more compelling if the modal category of necessary was changed to probable and if the conceptual compatibility of putative divine attributes was guaranteed by employing only negative properties for such terms. At any rate, that Godel distinguished "formal proof" from "knowing" is instructive, I think, and his attempt at a modal ontological argument is also revealing, suggesting, perhaps, that one needn't make their way through half of Whitehead and Russell’s Principia in order to "know" that 2 + 2 = 4, but, rather, that would be necessary only to "prove" same. 53) I would agree that the statement, God cannot be measured, is true for science as narrowly conceived as natural science. More broadly conceived, science includes theology as a discipline and many typologies of the science-religion interface would, for instance, affirm the notion of hypothetical consonance between the disciplines. Much of Hans Kung's work entailed an elaborate formulation of the God hypothesis, not empirically testable by any means, but, which uses nihilism as a foil to proceed reductio ad absurdum toward what Kung calls a fundamental trust in uncertain reality that, given a suitable and "working" God-hypothesis, is not otherwise nowhere anchored and paradoxical. Another focus of theology as a scientific discipline is that of practical theology where orthopraxis might be considered to authenticate orthodoxy. 54) Strong cases have been made by historians of science that sustainable scientific progress was birthed in the womb of a belief in creatio ex nihilo, in other words, a belief in the contingent nature of reality, which, when combined with the Greek belief in reality's rationality, provided the cultural matrix for science's explosive growth in the Christian West. 55) I suppose there is an element of the aesthetic that guides one toward such an interpretation as Bohm's rather than Bohr's, Chalmers, Searle or Penrose rather than Dennett, the Churchlands or Crick, Pascal rather than Nietzsche --- but something else is going on, and it is not time-honored, when anyone chooses info to fit an interpretation, which is a different enterprise from the formulation of alternative interpretations that are hypothetically consonant with whatever info is available at the time. 56) To say more succinctly what I elaborate below: Approaching facts is one matter, rules another, and facts about rules, yet another. There's no explaining or justifying rules within their own systems and one hops onto an epistemological pogo stick, incessantly jumping to yet another system with such explanatory/justificatory attempts (cf. Godel). Thankfully, Popperian falsification short circuits rule justification in our pursuit of facts and the reductio ad absurdum (with some caveats) short circuits formal philosophy in our pursuit of rule justification, which is otherwise, inescapably, going to be question begging, rendering our metasystems, in principle, tautological. An example of a caveat there is that one overworks the humean dictum re: existence as a predicate of being when asserting that existence cannot be taken as a predicate of being -- because it certainly can. One underappreciates the humean perspective when one forgets that taking existence as a predicate of being is a tautology. But so are all metaphysics, which are all fatally flawed. None of this is about escaping all antinomial paradox but, rather, finding the metasystem least susceptible to multiple births of paradox, least pregnant with paradox -- or, finding that metasystem which, however fatally flawed, is least morbid. 57) In dealing with metasystem formulations, inevitably, we must confront the time-honored question: random or systematic? chance or necessity? order or chaos? pattern or paradox? At least, for me, this seems to capture the conundrum at issue.This conundrum is ubiquitous and presents itself not only in metaphysics but in physics, not only in speculative cosmology and the quantum realm but also in speculative cognitive science and the realm of consciousness. This is reminiscent of the dynamic in the TV gameshow, Jeopardy, for these dyads --- of random, chance, chaos, paradox vis a vis systematic, necessity, order, pattern --- offer themselves as answers to a larger question posed in a bigger framework. That question might be framed as: What is it that mediates between the possible and the actual? 58) My brain loves that question and pondering the implications of those dyads seems to help keep my neurotransmitters in balance, quite often firing off enough extra endorphins to help me pedal my bike an extra mile or two, any given day. That question presents when we consider reality both locally and globally, particularly or universally, in part or as a whole. I have pondered such extensively as set forth here: http://bellsouthpwp.net/p/e/per-ardua-adastra/epistemic.htm and elsewhere http://bellsouthpwp.net/p/e/per-ardua-ad-astra/merton.htm [links at the top of this page] and one day I may take on the task of making such musings more accessible. For now, it seems that I have practiced the Franciscan virtue of seeking to understand rather than to be understood and turned it into a vice, practicing it to a fault. 59) I will say this: Science is a human convention, an agreement entered into by an earnest community of inquiry. It seems to operate on a consensus regarding 1) primitives (space, time, mass and energy/charge) 2) forces (strong and weak, electromagnetic and gravity) and 3) axioms (laws of thermodynamics and so forth) and the relationships they reveal as this community proceeds via 4) popperian falsification, which, as Popper properly understood and many others do not, is not, itself, falsifiable. There are no strict lines between physics and metaphysics inasmuch as any tweaking of these categories by theoretical scientists is meta-physical, for instance, such as by those who'd add consciousness as a primitive, quantum gravity as a force and statistical quantum law as an axiom. The crossing-over from philosophy to science and from metaphysics to physics by this or that notion is not so much determined a priori as based on any given attributes of a particular idea regarding primitives, forces and axioms but, rather, takes place when such can be framed up in such a manner as it can be empirically falsified. We know this from the history of philosophy, science and metaphysics -- although the pace of cross-over has slowed a tad. 60) Framing up reality in falsifiable bits and pieces is no simple matter to one who agrees with Haldane that reality is not only stranger than we imagine but stranger than we can imagine. Still, as is born into our very nature as epistemological optimists, we might temper this view by taking Chesterton's counsel

that we do not know enough about reality, yet, to say that it is unknowable. We just do not know, a priori, either where we will hit an explanatory wall or where we will break through same, this notwithstanding such as G. E. Pugh's remark to the effect that if the brain were simple enough for us to understand it, we would be so simple that we couldn't. 61) What we do know, a priori, are our own rules and conventions and we can predict whether or not an explanatory wall will either be hit or penetrated --but only if we narrowly conceive of that wall as being built with the bricks of empirical evidence and the mortar of formal proofs. An explanatory wall thus conceived is indeed subject to godelian constraints, which allow us to model rules that we are otherwise precluded from explaining. In reality, though, one would commit the equivalent of an epistemological Maginot Line blunder if one built her explanatory wall exclusively of such materials, for, as we know, a large portion of human knowledge lies outside of any such a narrowly conceived epistemic structure. Indeed, we know far more than we can ever prove (or falsify) 62) Now, to be sure, we must remain well aware that we are freely choosing our axioms and first principles and that, consistent with godelian and popperian constraints, they can neither be logically demonstrated, a priori, nor scientifically falsified, a posteriori. We should keep an eye open, too, to the critiques of Descartes, Hume and Kant, insofar as they seem to have anticipated, in many ways, these godelian and popperian formalizations, as well as some of the dynamics explored by the analytical cohort. What I personally cannot countenance, however, is any epistemological caving in to such constraints and critiques (cartesian, kantian and humean); the proper response, if the normative sciences are to retain any sway whatsoever, would seem, rather, to be a trading in of any naive realism for a critical realism (staying mostly aristotelian cum neoplatonic?). So, too, the humean fact-value distinction, worth considering, should not be overworked into a false dichotomy? 63) If, in our inescapable fallibility, we have been dispossessed of any apodictic claims to necessity and logical demonstrations of our first principles, still, we do have at our disposal the judicious use of the reductio ad absurdum as our backdoor philosophy. True enough, the counterintuitive is not, in and of itself, an infallible beacon of truth, for science has demonstrated many counterintuitive notions to be true, given certain axioms. Nonetheless, absent any demonstration to the contrary and guided by an earnest community of inquiry, would we not do best to reject such as solipsism and radical nihilism, and to embrace noncontradiction and excluded middle (within the norms suggested by both epistemological and ontological vagueness, which is another exhuastive consideration)? 64) So, yes, in freely choosing such axioms as we might employ in our attempt to answer the question --- What mediates between the possible and the actual? --- we are free to opt for chance or necessity, for order or chaos, for pattern or paradox, for the random or systematic, and we are free to apply such an option locally and/or globally, particularly or universally, to the whole of reality or to any part, and no one can dispossess us, through formal proof or with empirical evidence, of our chosen axioms. And, yes, once we have chosen such axioms, such meta-systems, we must recognize that, fundamentally, they are clearly tautological by design and in principle, and that any apologetic for same will be rather question begging. [Every time we open an ontological window, reality closes an epistemological door, I like to say.] The only recourse we have that seems to be at all compelling is the old reductio ad absurdum, taking this or that set of axioms, applying them to reality as best we have come to grasp same, and, after extrapolating it all to some putative logical conclusion, then testing it all for congruence with reality (and with whatever else happens to be in that suite of epistemological criteria as might comprise this or that community of inquiry's epistemic desiderata). 65) As a relevant aside, I have found that we best modify our modal ontological logic of possible, actual and necessary to possible, actual and probable, which allows one to prescind from the dyads of chance/necessity, order/chaos, pattern/paradox, random/systematic --- as these more and more seem to describe distinctions that should not be overworked into dichotomies, not that I am an inveterate peircean triadimaniac -- for I am, rather, a pan-entheistic tetradimaniac (seems to me to be the least pregnant, anyway). 66) What mediates between the possible and the actual? Probably, the probable. [And that may be the window Reality opened for Hefner's co-creators as God shrunk from the necessary? And that may be the future-oriented rupture between our essential possibilities and their existential realizations in Haught's teleological account of original sin?] 67) When the Beatles were with the Maharishi in India, at the end of one session, he offered anyone who was interested a ride back to the compound with him on his helicopter. John volunteered. When later queried about why he decided to go, John quipped: "Because I thought he'd slip me the answer." jb is going to slip you the answer.Ever heard of the pragmatic maxim?In my words, jb's maxim, it translates into What would you do differently if you had the answer? [And it doesn't matter what the question is or that it necessarily be THE question, whatever that is.] Now, if Lonergan's conversions --- cognitive, moral, affective, sociopolitical and religious --- were all fully effected in a human being and that person were truly authentic in lonerganian terms, mostly transformed in terms of classical theosis, then how would an authentic/transformed human answer the question: What would you do differently if you had the answer?S/he would answer thusly: Nothing. 68) That's what I really like most about lovers. I've seen them struggle with all these questions and have even seen them afflicted by these questions to an extent, but lovers are clearly among those for whom I know the answer to the above-question is: Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada.That's the epitome of unconditional love and that's the essence of the Imago Dei.And that is a small comfort ... so, it's a good thing that comfort is not what it's all about, Alfie. Carry on. Do carry on 69) In another vein, all of philosophy seems to turn on those three big questions of Kant: What can I know? What can I hope for? What must I do?The astute observer might recognize that these questions correspond to truth, beauty and goodness and have been answered by philosophers in terms of logic, aesthetics and ethics and by religions in terms of creed, cult and code. They also correspond to the three theological virtues of faith, hope and love and to our psychological faculties of the cognitive, affective and moral (again, think Lonergan). At some point on my journey, I rested and answered these questions thusly: I don't know and I don't need to know. I don't feel and I don't need to feel. I love and I need to forgive.All of a sudden --- I kid ya not --- all manner of truth, beauty and goodness started chasing me rather than vice versa! If we frame the issue in terms of foci of concern, then the scientific focus will be more narrowly defined than the theological. The first is positivistic, the latter, philosophic. 70) The scientific focus looks at facts through the lens of popperian falsification. It structures its arguments formally and thus employs mathematics and other closed, formal symbol systems through which it can establish correspondence between those parts of reality we agree to call givens: primitives (space, time, mass/charge, energy), forces (weak, strong, electromagnetic, gravity) and axioms (conservation, thermodynamics). It seeks to provide descriptive accounts of these parts of reality and deals in proofs. 71) The philosophic focus is a wider perspective, which is to say it embraces additional concerns by looking through the lenses of the normative sciences of logic, aesthetics and ethics. It looks at rules. Its arguments are not formally constructed but it does try to establish coherence in its accounts of reality. It seeks to provide evaluative accounts of reality as a whole and deals in justifications. 72) Lonergan scholar, Daniel Helminiak, defines two additional foci of concern, which are progressively wider perspectives, the theistic and theotic, the latter having to do with human transformation in relation to God (and which might represent one of many perspectives presented at Star). 73) Broader perspectives, wider foci of concern, do not invalidate the narrower foci, if for no other reason, then, because they are focusing on different aspects of reality, in fact, additional aspects. 74) In Jeff's frontier town, out on the working edge of science, any novel concepts being introduced must indeed be precisely specified in the language of science, which is to say one must introduce a novel primitive, force or axiom, or a novel interaction between existing givens, into a closed, formal symbol system like mathematics. This novelty can then be tested for correspondence with reality, in other words, factuality, through popperian falisfication (which is not itself falsifiable). 75) As for unfortunate trends among scientists, philosophers and theologians, descriptively, in terms of blurred focus, these are manifold and varied with no monopolies on same? I am time-constrained, wrote this hurriedly and must run. My next consideration was going to be Theories of Everything and how they should be categorized and why? Any ideas? 76) Obviously, I could not elaborate a comprehensive organon/architectonic of human knowledge categories in only four paragraphs and thus did not draw out such distinctions as, for instance, the very living of life, itself, from the arts, the practical sciences, the heuristic sciences, the theoretical sciences, the normative sciences and so on. The particular point I was making, however, more particularly turned on the distinction between those matters in life which we prove versus those which we otherwise justify. As a retired bank chairman/president, I must say that it would have pleased me very much, too, to have

seen the justice system derive more of its rules from logic. Note, also, the operative word, derive, and you'll have some sense of how my elaboration will unfold 77) Because one of the manifold criteria for good hypotheses vis a vis the scientific method is the making of measurable predictions in the context of hypothetico-deductive and inductive reasoning, we might properly talk about proof as being more broadly conceived, our descriptive accounts lending themselves to measurements (and hypothetical fecundity). Of course, induction, itself, is not formal logic, anyway 78) Those trends that frighten me the most are the different fundamentalisms (including both the religious fundamentalisms and enlightenment fundamentalism or scientism). 79) By Theory of Everything (TOE). I mean such as M-theory, superstrings, quantum gravity, unified field theory, etc in the realm of theoretical physics. I believe there are metamathematical problems that inhere in such a TOE as set forth in Godel's incompleteness theorems. This is not to suggest a TOE could not be mathematically formulated but only to say it could not, in principle, be proven. Neither is this to suggest that, because it couldn't be formally demonstrated, we wouldn't otherwise know we'd discovered same. 80) A long time ago, my graduate research was in neuroendocrinology Also, the emergentist heuristic of something more from nothing but may have implications for some of the difficulties that remain in our understanding of consciousness? As far as philosophic accounts of same, my overall theological perspective doesn't turn on whether or not Dennett, Searle, Chalmers, Penrose, Ayn Rand or the Churchlands are correct (vis a vis the positivistic elements of their accounts), although, presently, I'm leaning toward Deacon's rather peircean biosemiotic perspective. 81) For me to have written this: "Neither is this to suggest that, because it couldn't be formally demonstrated, we wouldn't otherwise know we'd discovered same," maybe I was talking about both? I purposefully left the categorization of any TOE open to tease out different perspectives. My take, to avoid being too coy, is that a TOE requires more than a positivistic focus. It necessarily involves a broadening of our scientific focus to embrace the additional concerns of the philosophic. Some folks go further. 82) It's my guess that Baldwinian evolution captures many imaginations because it employs the notion of downward causation. Furthermore, if one frames up the problem of consciousness biosemiotically, in some sense one recovers the classic aristotelian notions of material, formal and final causality. Exciting? Yes. But ... 83) However, one doesn't need to a priori dismiss cartesian dualism and neither does one need to a priori embrace a fully reductionistic philosophy of mind (including the physical causal closure of the universe) to, at the same time, recognize that such biosemiotic accounts do not, necessarily, violate known physical laws or the idea of physical causal closure. In other words, there can be strong and weak versions of downward causation, both being both nonphysical and nonreductive, and the emergentistic, biosemiotic account of evolving complexity utilizes the weak version. This does involve a work-around of frameworks that employ strictly efficient causation. 84) What might some of us do with our imaginations? Well, we might invoke various analogies from different physical and/or semiotic accounts to our philosophic, metaphysical and even theological accounts. And, sometimes, we might lose sight of how progressively weak these analogies can become. 85) I suppose I could at least be pleased that Dawkins did not consider mystics and obscurantists to be a redundancy? My charitable interpretation would be that he recognized that the conscious and deliberate invocation of analogies by authentic mystics, who have their eyes open to this analogical dynamic (apophatically inclined as they are!), is valid (even if he might impute little pragmatic cash value to same), while, for their part, the obscurantists might even altogether deny the metaphorical and analogical nature of their extrapolations (not necessarily in bad faith). [The evidence in favor of a charitable interpretation is not being weighed here.] At any rate, the medieval scotistic notion of the formal distinction, the peircean distinction between objective and physical reality, and the semiotic notion of form realism don't invite ghosts into machines or gods into gaps. Metaphorically and analogically, and metaphysically, however, different notions of causation are ... let me say ... interesting. 86) All that said, consciousness remains way overdetermined, scientifically speaking, as well as, philosophically speaking, both epistemologically and ontologically open (as far as strongly emergent, weakly supervenient systems are concerned, not to say that supervenience might not be a rather trivial notion). Pugh may be on to something: If our brains were so simple we could understand them, we would be so simple that we couldn't (or something like that). I submit we have no a priori justification for selecting a philosophy of mind and precious little a posteriori warrant either. Gun to my head, however, I like Deacon (and his important nuances of the accounts of Dennett and Dawkins re: memetic, genetic and computational fallacies). 87) Godel's relevance to a TOE is controversial. I'd be willing to argue both sides. But let me agree with you by suggesting physics is formal and physicists (and Nature and God) are not, by drawing a distinction between proving and knowing, by recognizing that even if a TOE was mathematically formulated in a positivistic/descriptive framework, we'd have to fall back on our philosophic/evaluative framework to justify our faith in it. 88) In reading Hawking's take on Godel's relevance to a TOE he does seem to draw an obvious direct metamathematical connection? But I cannot say that he did so unequivocally because almost everything else he said after that clearly invoked Godel analogously. So, at the very least, per Hawking, a physical theory is going to be Godel-like (M-theory per his discussion). Hawking's lecture can be heard here: http://www.damtp.cam.ac.uk/strtst/dirac/hawking/audio.ram 89) I can better wrap my positivistic mind around a weak anthropic principle in the same way I can accept weak versions of downward causation and weak deontological ethics even as I do not a priori rule out the strong versions. Heidegger's question has been rephrased, lately, as Why is there something and not rather something else? and this makes the strong anthropic principle more compelling in some philosophic frameworks (but understandably trivial in others). Wittgenstein's It's not how things are but that things are which is the mystical doesn't sway those who'd not take existence as a predicate of being, but what about a bounded existence, a universe in a multiverse, in a pluralistic reality? Maybe there is some univocity of being (Duns Scotist) and some analogy of being (thomism), too? [For instance, a pan-entheism is monistic, dualistic and pluralistic.] 90) Chesterton said that we do not know enough about reality to say that it is unknowable and Haldane says that reality is not only stranger than we imagine but stranger than we can imagine. They can both be correct. If humankind does formulate a TOE, it could well be something we have stumbled over and not rather worked out through hypothetico-deductive and inductive reasoning/imagination. It not only takes faith and the evaluative aspect of the human knowledge manifold to believe a TOE might be found. Those epistemic faculties would also necessarily be involved in the recognition that it had indeed been found. 91) To the extent that I may have had an agenda (transparent, I hope), and to the extent that agenda has been somewhat of an apologetic invoking various (and sometimes substantial)degrees of epistemological parity between the world's great, extant weltanschauungs, I am willing (and, in fact, pleased) to argue this point in favor of your conclusion. In that case, perhaps I have been concerning myself with epistemological strawmen or shadowboxing with the philosophical ghosts of yesteryear, who advocated logical positivism, radical empiricism, hyper-rationalism, scientism and such or who countered these with fideism, radical religious fundamentalism and such, such advocacies and counteradvocacies being the obverse sides of the same coin of the realm of epistemological hubris. As you are aware, neither do I countenance an excessive epistemological humility. 92) Perhaps we can say that for me to make such points on the IRASnet or MetaNexus would be a preaching to the choir, for the most part, and that no discipline has adopted that usage in a long time. In that case, I agree that I might have drawn an unnecessary distinction. Perhaps we can also suggest, however, that not everyone, perhaps even most (the un-disciplined), have been successfully evangelized and that our task is not done, our work is otherwise unfinished, and the distinction for that audience thus remains pertinent? 93) Theology (forgiving the erstwhile - I hope - extreme scholastic realism) employed what were known as the scholastic notations. Seminarians were taught to place, in the margin of their notebooks, little notes indicating whether a proposition was: 1) impossible 2) possible 3) improbable 4) implausible 5) uncertain 6) plausible 7) probable 8) certain. Lately, in the modal logic of a) the possible b) the actual and c) the necessary, the latter has been amended to the probable, by some. 94) The distinction I'd offer here is something like Hume makes re: skepticism and induction. It is the distinction between the theoretical and the practical. Even if a TOE is beyond our grasp strictly theoretically speaking, all TOEs being fatally flawed in principle, still, from a practical perspective, I think it is fair to say that we may be able to justify our belief in a TOE, someday, in a universally compelling manner. Does this undermine my assertions re: Godel? I would say that I meant that it is possible my assertions could be undermined. How plausible or probable?

95) Since I am working on another project re: Criteria for Articulating a TOE, I used Michael's evocative query as a springboard in constructing my epistemological preamble to that project. Below is my original response, which I then edited and sent along just now as a much shorter version. I think TOE discussions are central to the dialogue between science and religion. However, they are notoriously difficult to air out on listserv forums because too much renormalization is required to translate all hermeneutics into a single lingua franca with logically compatible concepts and axioms. With that caveat, here it is for the few who may be interested. 96) To the extent that I may have had an agenda (transparent, I hope), and to the extent that agenda has been somewhat of an apologetic invoking various (and sometimes substantial) degrees of epistemological parity between the world's great, extant weltanschauungs, I am willing (and, in fact, pleased) to argue this point in favor of your conclusion. In that case, perhaps I have been concerning myself with epistemological strawmen or shadowboxing with the philosophical ghosts of yesteryear, who advocated logical positivism, radical empiricism, hyper-rationalism, scientism and such or who countered these with fideism, radical religious fundamentalism and such, such advocacies and counteradvocacies being the obverse sides of the same coin of the realm of epistemological hubris. As you are aware, neither do I countenance an excessive epistemological humility. 97) Theology (forgiving the erstwhile - I hope - extreme scholastic realism) employed what were known as the scholastic notations. Seminarians were taught to place, in the margin of their notebooks, little notes indicating whether a proposition was: 1) impossible 2) possible 3) improbable 4) implausible 5) uncertain 6) plausible 7) probable 8) certain. Lately, in the modal logic of a) the possible b) the actual and c) the necessary, the latter has been amended to the probable. In semiotic logic, the application of first principles has been nuanced such that excluded middle and noncontradiction hold or fold based on modal categories under consideration (for the possible, NC folds but EM holds; for the actual, NC & EM hold; for the probable, NC holds but EM folds). Such modal logic reflects ontological vagueness. Such semiotic logic reflects semantical or epistemological vagueness. Alas, these are oversimplifications, but they fit your thesis (and mine). 98) Of course, a TOE would be, at best, consistent but incomplete. That it would thus not be absolute follows from any Godel-like implications (arguably even directly from Godel). It then follows that, having no recourse to apodictic proof, we are thrown back on the resources of our evaluative continuum as it works in conjunction with the other aspects of the human knowledge manifold (sensation, perception, cognition, rational continuum, etc), normatively guiding and regulating and largely capacitating them. It thus qualifies my godelian assertions only in the sense that such constraints are not overcome by JOTS (jumping outside the system, as some cavalierly suggest) to the extent that we are forever chasing the axioms for our axioms but are overcome by JOTS to the extent that we accept all attempts to justify a TOE as fatally flawed from a theoretical perspective but not necessarily from a practical perspective. The godelian-like implications, though not couched in this manner, are well-inventoried by Suber in his The Problem with Beginning. 99) So, what constitutes very persuasive? Is it not an issue of justification? And you have properly gathered my whole thrust regarding the epistemological parity of many of our extant alternate worldviews: they all fallback on justification attempts. And this brings us to the issue of epistemic virtue and vice and how humankind might best define same as a community of inquiry, whose foci of concern variously overlap or not and do so with great existential import and tremendous implications for the therapies we devise for what ails us. Finally, we can arbitrate between the worldviews once we have established a consensus on epistemic norms, but, if we had those in place, even now, we don't have enough info to apply them to everyone's complete satisfaction. (However, let's not forget that many are ALREADY and not, rather, Almost Persuaded, as it is re: their worldviews). 100) Alas, this brings us back, full circle, to the question of whether or not it is just too early to tell how a universally compelling TOE might unfold or whether or not we will ever truly unweave the rainbow and all of its antecedent causes, theoretically or practically. The following constitutes a longer response to an above-question. 101) The art of epistemological nuance, as I imbibed it from Mother's knee, albeit as an unconscious competent, was handed down to me, not from the long traditions of thomism and scotism (which well articulated same), but, from the longer tradition of patristic theology (including dionysian mysticism and other neoplatonic influences, which would inform our aristotelian perspectives). My present intuition, which I cannot substantiate but will investigate further (some day), is that my epistemological heritage goes back past the early church fathers, even, to the mytho-poetic-practical mindset of the semitic imagination circa Hebrew Testament days. Let me elaborate. 102) As one looks at the human knowledge manifold, from sensation & perception, emotion & motivation, learning & memory, imagination & intuition, inference & deliberation, from instinctive to affective to cognitive, from nonrational to prerational to rational to suprarational, from noninferential to preinferential to inferential to postinferential, or any way one prefers to dice it and slice it, I suppose it is not entirely clear, anthropologically, how and when different peoples integrally deployed these different aspects. For example, suppose we assume that some of these aspects constitute what we might call the evaluative continuum of the human knowledge manifold, while others moreso represent the rational continuum (all of which is tightly integrated). 103) Another correspondent has argued with me over whether or not the early semitic imagination employed any type of inference (more commonly known as abduction, induction, deduction & transduction). My guess was that surely it did and that the proper distinction between the semitic and hellenistic mindsets, let's say ca. when the Christian tradition was in formation, would not be the latter's employment of inference but, rather, the hellenistic employment of formal/abstract inference in addition to any informal/concrete inference. Inference, not otherwise distinguished, is simply abduction, induction and deduction. To say that the mytho-poetic-practical mindset did not use humanity's full cognitive capacities, which I do think is possible, maybe even plausible, is not to say that it did not engage the inferential aspects of the human knowledge manifold. Rather, one is suggesting that, perhaps, it did not develop formal operational abilities. It undoubtedly would have developed transductive, inductive and deductive reasoning and would even have thought abductively about such things as coordinated action. Still, such reasoning, if concretely operational and not formally operational, would not employ the hypothetico-deductive or scientific-inductive reasoning that requires both a more robust abductive facility as well as abstract conceptual abilities. 104) Now, one might also say that many of the hellenistic mindset did not use humanity's full human knowledge manifold either insofar as many overemphasized, to a fault, the employment of the rational continuum without acknowledging the role of the evaluative continuum. (I have a friend who mourns the day Athens met Jerusalem). All that said, there was apparently a gravitation toward inductive inference in the semitic and deductive in the hellenistic. 105) We discussed previously that not all logic is binary, that some is fuzzy and contextual-relational, that we seek symmetry and patterns. The Hebrew literature is replete with concrete inductive and deductive inference. It gifts us with a heightened awareness of patterns in creation, for instance. The genius of the mytho-poetic-practical mind renders such inference wisdom and not merely reason. That genius embodies everything that gives the peircean perspective some of its advantage (while it also has its disadvantages) over the classical philosophical traditions insofar as it is concrete, dynamic, wholistic and relational over against abstract, static, dualistic and ontological (iow, escapes essentialism, nominalism, substantialism, dualism). 106) It is Our Story (hence the impetus behind Everybody's Story) that unifies and gives value to our experience, so we do not want to ignore this indispensable unifying element of the evaluative continuum and concrete inferences (and faith, iow) even as we do (and must) transcend the mythical-literal aspect. We must proactively engage affective judgment and imaginative-intuitive thinking integrally, holistically, in conjunction with inferential thinking (whether concretely or abstractly) for optimal inferential performance is my view. (Scientists with keen aesthetic sensibilities have an advantage?) Abstract, formal inferential thinking, including the hypothetico-deductive and scientific-inductive, of the formal operational stage of cognitive development, is a morally neutral activity, which can assist virtue or vice, which can become a fetish, but so can any other aspect of the human knowledge manifold (evaluative and rational continuua) that asserts its autonomy and denies any relationality with the other aspects. 107) There's a lot going on in philosophy that is analogous to what's going on in math (and metamathematics). There is a lot going on in metaphysics that is analogous to what's going on in theoretical physics. In a nutshell, there are a lot of different systems with different axioms and it requires so much careful predication, high nuancing and disambiguation of concepts before everyone is reading from the same sheet of music that most popular philosophical discussion consists of people talking past one another. Consider the renormalization required in physics as attempts are made at a grand unified theory because the natures of the alternate decriptions (quantum vs field vs gravity and such) are logically and mutually exclusive. Well, something like that is required in metaphysics as we jump back and forth between substance accounts, process accounts, substance-process accounts, participative accounts, semiotic accounts and so on. Each account attempts to eliminate the ambiguity (paradox) in the next account and creates new ambiguities of its own. Everytime a philosopher or metaphysician opens a new hermeneutical window, the axiomatic backdraft shuts another epistemological door. Any attempt to halt an infinite regress seems to introduce some type of causal disjunction. Any attempt at self-consistency introduces circular-referentiality. Attempts to banish such tautologies introduce stipulated beginning (ipse dixit) and question begging (petitio) fallacies. Our justification attempts can also fallback on the resources of faith and noncognitive strategies. Paradox is inescapable. There is no consistent account that is complete. There is no complete account that

is consistent. These accounts necessarily utilize some terms univocally and others equivocally. The equivocal can be either simply equivocal or analogical. The analogical can be attributive (if real causes and effects are invoked) or proportional (if we are invoking similarities in the relationships between two different pairs of terms). If such an similarity is essential to those terms we have a proper proportinality but if it is accidental we have an improper proportionality, a metaphor. And we use a lot of metaphors, even if physics, and they all eventually collapse. 108) These accounts are not Nature, so the godelian constraints and godelian-like constraints and attendant justification problems don't apply to Nature per se but only to our attempts to describe nature, which are abstractions. Maybe the clarification we seek is located in the distinction between a TOE as it might exist in some platonic heaven and one as might be abstracted by an earthly abstractor. I cannot conceive of how the latter would even be possible using human inferential capacities to the extent a TOE is predicated as a metaphysic and with all metaphysics being pregnant with some form of paradox (some multiple birthing and more fecund than others), all meta-accounts being fatally flawed (some more morbid than others). If you distinguish this earthlyabstracted TOE from one existing in a platonic heaven and perceivable from a putative-God's eye view by some being univocally predicated as a Consistent Comprehendor, then Godel would certainly not be lurking and neither would anyone else for who could afford to pay that kind of epistemological rent? 109) But for reasons we both stated before, not even much depending on how one predicates a TOE, I don't see it as either a theoretical or practical concern except as might belong to One predicated, in part, as Primal Ground. [Consistent Comprehendor has been one of my univocal predications of a hypothetical deity, in fact. 110) I've been giving this much thought of late, especially while reading Merton but also while contemplating "contemplation" and epistemology and such related issues, in general. Increasingly, I feel the need to make the following distinction. Whether in ascetical or mystical theology, formative spirituality or developmental psychology, all as integrally considered, when one employs the term "simple" or related notions like "simplicity," one must be clear as to whether one really means "simple versus complex" or, rather, "simple versus difficult".Very often, spiritual writers have spoken of simplicity both with respect to prayer and with respect to certain asceticisms, disciplines and practices that help to dispose one to prayer, cultivating solitude and nurturing a contemplative outlook. Increasingly, it seems to me that such simplicity is moreso of the "simple versus difficult" variety, which is to say that we are talking in terms of ease and facility [Webster's 9th definition, below] and not so much of any lack of complexity [Webster's 5th definition]. 111) If contemplation is simple, then I would say that it is simple in the sense that, for the contemplative, prayer is facile, easy, readily performed. It is not difficult for the proficient. So it is with most any art, whether pertaining to dance or music or athleticism. So it is with many of life's tasks, whether riding a bike or driving a standard automobile, or performing one's trade as an accomplished technician. 112) The underlying deployment of the various aspects of the human evaluative continuum --- from awareness, sensation & perception, emotion & motivation, learning & memory, imagination & intuition, inference & deliberation --- wholistically & integrally employing our instinctive, affective and cognitive faculties, is clearly complex and not at all "simple" in the sense of being "uncomplicated" or "artless" or such. 113) Developmentally speaking, there are no shortcuts to such simplicity, to such artform, to such technical competence, to such proficiency. Preparation through catechesis, ongoing cultivation through liturgy and lectio divina, fidelity to law and code both obligationally and aspirationally, and commitment to community, all contribute, integrally, toward properly disposing one for higher gifts. 114) Now, it is true enough that the Holy Spirit gifts us with charisms that exceed our natural talents and with infused prayer that can be received only as gift and that there is a simplicity in such grace that transcends our human categories of simple vs difficult, simple vs complex. What I speak of, here, are all of the natural and normal preparations we make, no less cooperating with grace, such preparations and practices being quite complex when you think about them, psychologically and epistemologically, even as they are progressively done with great facility and simplicity, iow, proficiency, through time and dutiful practice. 115) In this sense, contemplation might best be equated with the total offering [perhaps, Webster's 8th definition] of our entire selves, the total oblation of our entire lives, the total disposal of our human evaluative continuum, to God. And this offering is wholly, holy whole. 116) And this offering is progressively easier, more facile, more simple --- even as it is one of the most complex maneuvers, complicated dance steps, a human will ever perform. It starts off simple but gets increasingly complex. It starts off difficult but gets progressively simple (facile). 117) Main Entry: 1sim·ple  Pronunciation: 'sim-p&l Function: adjective Etymology: Middle English, from Old French, plain, uncomplicated, artless, from Latin simplus, simplex, literally, single 5 a : SHEER, UNMIXED <simple honesty> b : free of secondary complications <a simple vitamin deficiency> c (1) : having only one main clause and no subordinate clauses <a simple sentence> (2) of a subject or predicate : having no modifiers, complements, or objects d : constituting a basic element : FUNDAMENTAL e : not made up of many like units <a simple eye>`8 : not limited or restricted : UNCONDITIONAL <a simple obligation>9 : readily understood or performed <simple directions> <the adjustment was simple to make>synonym see in addition EASY 118) Another angle. Recall the distinctions Washburn made vis a vis Wilber and the pre-trans fallacies.I built upon these such that, ontologically, we distinguish between 1) (meta)physical structures, 2) developmental stages and 3) phenomenal states, while, epistemologically, we distinguish between 1) our environing reality (including ultimate reality), 2) the environed reality (of the human evaluative continuum) and 3) our foci of concern (recall Helminiak). 119) In terms of simplicity, then, for the proficient on the spiritual journey, what is going on in one's physical structure (psychologically & spiritually, integrally & holistically), where one is re: developmental stages, how the environed reality interacts with the environing reality with ever expanded foci of concern --- all of this is increasingly complex. There is FAR more going on, epistemologically and ontologically, with the proficient than there is going on for the novice. If the phenomenal state seems to be rather quiet, this is only because of the smooth, proficiency and well-practiced facility of these advanced parts of the journey. A proficient shifting gears and working the clutch IS going to be QUIETER than a beginner, who is learning to drive the spiritual motorcar. This is due to a simplicity born of facility and not from a lack of complexity. 120) I think it has been a failure to make this distinction that has led folks down the paths of error such as quietism, fideism and such, denigrating various faculties of human knowledge, wrongly deemphasizing various aspects of the human knowledge manifold, whether the evaluative and/or rational continuum. 121) The trick is not to confuse the distinctions we draw between the instinctive and the affective and the cognitive for dichotomies, which is to say that, in order to be authentically human, we employ all of these faculties, in some meausre, all of the time. There is an inauthenticity, a denial of our own humanity, in being rationalistic (only the head) or fideistic/pietistic (only the heart). The point is that there is no superiority in the sense that anyone can be an authentic human, even as we note that it takes some doing. Theresa, the Little Flower, is a Doctor of the Church, so certainly underwent an intellectual conversion in addition to any affective, moral, social and religious conversions. She may not have led with her intellect, let's say, the way her fellow Carmelite John of the Cross did, but she did not interfere with its being transvalued by her other conversion experiences. Wisdom results. Authenticity is an "accomplishment" of wholeness and intellectual conversion is not to be mistaken for academic learning, alone. If we first follow Lonergan's imperatives to be attent, intelligent, reasonable and so forth, very much matters of the will, too, it'll take care of itself in the "simplest" of souls. 122) This is not unrelated to Occam's Razor and the Law of Parsimony, eh? And Charles Sanders Peirce suggests that it is the facility with which we come up with an hypothesis and not the lack of complexity in same that parsimony should measure. As far as priesthoods and power-hoarding, or clericalism, although that happens we do not want to commit the fallacy of misuse, which argues against something that is otherwise good and which should only be used properly. Arrogance can be a two way street -- one side arrogating and asserting it has the answers and is here to help and the other side arrogating and saying it has the answers and needs no help. Alas, good storytelling (homiletics) seems to be the best way to reach all audiences. 123) .I would agree and qualify that one can, as a proficient, afford to just look because the look-er's entire evaluative continuum has been so very well prepared (cultivated, disposed, trained or what have you). Every apophatic moment contains, for the proficient, all kataphasis, and every kataphatic moment contains all apophasis, too, as one encounters reality with one's entire evaluative continuum integrally and holistically deployed. The simplicity is real insofar as an organic whole is in operation and is not otherwise fractured. If the phenomenal state of the contemplative soul resembles that of one who has merely paused between sensation and abstraction, that is a superficial resemblance because the developmental stages and underlying structures could be quite different (formed, for instance, by catechesis, liturgy, lectio divina, moral development, etc a la lonerganian conversions). Of course, it does occur to me that Maritain has already done this work of drawing such distinctions between philosophical contemplation, connaturality, intuition of being, natural

mysticism and mystical contemplation, etc And, of course, there are all of the problems about the use of the term contemplation in the first place, such as acquired vs infused, etc But I am just toying with what we mean and do not mean by simple. The non-reflective aspect is important --- whether driving a car, playing a guitar, dancing a ballet or praying. All proficiency seems to move toward simplicty a la facility and ease. I do not think I'll be playing Classical Gas tonight, though, on my guitar, no matter how simple it is for Mason Williams!    

Remarks for the Memorial Celebration of the Life and Philosophy of W.V. Quine by Stephen P. Stich - April 14, 2001 Quine also offered a new job description for philosophy - a new vision of the honest work that philosophers could do in a post-positivist world where the analytic / synthetic distinction (and thus analytic conceptual analysis) could no longer be taken seriously. Philosophy, Quine maintained, was continuous with the sciences. What philosophers could contribute to the work of the sciences was typically toward the more theoretical or conceptual end of the scientific spectrum. And philosophers, more often than their colleagues in the science departments, could afford the luxury of taking a broader view and reflecting on how theories in different disciplines fit together. But while the emphasis and the level of theoretical abstraction might distinguish this sort of philosophical work from the work typically produced by scientists, there was no difference in status between the sciences and this kind of philosophy; philosophy, done well, Quine insisted, just is science. In looking at the sciences, philosophers in the Quinean tradition did not have to restrict themselves to analyzing concepts or evaluating arguments or working out the logic of confirmation. Rather, they could develop new concepts and new theories - empirical theories - and test these theories in just the way that scientists themselves did, by seeing how well they comported with the empirical facts that other researchers had reported.

1.1 Characterizations of Analysis
If asked what ‘analysis’ means, most people today immediately think of breaking something down into its components; and this is how analysis tends to be officially characterized. In the Concise Oxford Dictionary (6th ed.), for example, ‘analysis’ is defined as the “resolution into simpler elements by analysing (opp. synthesis)”, the only other uses mentioned being the mathematical and the psychological. And in the Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, ‘analysis’ is defined as “the process of breaking a concept down into more simple parts, so that its logical structure is displayed” (Blackburn 1996, 14). The restriction to concepts and the reference to displaying ‘logical structure’ are important qualifications, but the core conception remains that of breaking something down. This conception may be called the decompositional or resolutive conception of analysis (see Section 4). But it is not the only conception, and indeed is arguably neither the dominant conception in the pre-modern period nor the conception that is characteristic of at least one major strand in ‘analytic’ philosophy. In ancient Greek thought, ‘analysis’ referred primarily to the process of working back to first principles by means of which something could then be demonstrated. This conception may be called the regressive conception of analysis (see Section 2). In the work of Frege and Russell, on the other hand, before the process of resolution could take place, the statements to be analyzed had first to be translated into their ‘correct’ logical form (see Section 6). This suggests that analysis also involves a transformative or interpretive dimension. This too, however, has its roots in earlier thought (see especially the supplementary sections on Ancient Greek Geometry and Medieval Philosophy). http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/analysis/#1.1
Water's water everywhere Jerry Fodor

  Strictly speaking, philosophy consists (or consists largely, or ought to consist largely) of the analysis of our concepts and/or of the analysis of the 'ordinary language' locutions that we use to express them. It's not the Good, the True or the Beautiful that a philosopher tries to understand, it's the corresponding concepts of 'good' 'beautiful' and 'true'. This way of seeing things has tactical advantages. Being good is hard; few achieve it. But practically everybody has some grasp of the concept 'good', so practically everybody knows as much as he needs to start on its analysis. Scientists, historians and the like need to muck around in libraries and laboratories to achieve their results, but concepts can be analysed in the armchair. Better still, the conceptual truths philosophy delivers are 'a priori' because grasp of a concept is all that's required for their recognition. Better still, whereas the findings of historians and scientists are always revisable in principle, it's plausible that the truths conceptual analysis reveals are necessary. If you want to know how long the reign of George V lasted, you will probably need to look it up, and you're always in jeopardy of your sources being unreliable. (I'm told he reigned from 1910-36, but I wouldn't bet the farm.) But the philosopher's proposition that a reign must last some amount of time or other would seem to be a conceptual truth; being extended in time belongs to the concept of a reign. Historians might conceivably find out that George V reigned from, say, 191037. That would no doubt surprise them, but evidence might turn up that can't be gainsaid. Philosophy, however, knows beyond the possibility of doubt - beyond, indeed, the possibility of coherent denial - that if George V reigned at all, then he reigned for a while. The truths that conceptual analysis arrives at are thus apodictic, rather like the truths of geometry. Such a comfort. Ever since Plato, philosophers have envied geometers their certitudes. So it's not surprising that the story about philosophy being conceptual analysis was well received all the way from Oxford to Berkeley, with many intermediate stops. Stage two: Quine. In 1953, W.V. Quine published an article called 'Two Dogmas of Empiricism'. Easily the most influential paper of the generation, its reverberations continue to be felt whenever philosophers discuss the nature of their enterprise. In a nutshell, Quine argued that there is no (intelligible, unquestion-begging) distinction between 'analytic' (linguistic/conceptual) truth and truth about matters of fact (synthetic/contingent truth). In particular, there are no a priori, necessary propositions (except, perhaps, for those of logic and mathematics). Quine's target was mainly the empiricist tradition in epistemology, but his conclusions were patently germane to the agenda of analytical philosophy. If there are no conceptual truths, there are no conceptual analyses either. If there are no conceptual analyses, analytic philosophers are in jeopardy of methodological unemployment. Whether Quine was right remains the bone of vigorous philosophical contention to this day. In fact, despite their extensive influence, there isn't any robust consensus as to what, exactly, the persuasive arguments in 'Two Dogmas' are or were supposed to be. (Philosophy is like that.) Suffice it that, since Quine, the practice of conceptual analysis has lacked a fully credible rationale. That's not to say that anybody much stopped doing it. To the contrary, it's often suggested that Quine must have been wrong because conceptual analysis is what analytic philosophers do, and there must be something that they're doing when they do it. That put a brave face on it, but there were guilty consciences wherever you looked. And so things stood for several decades. The point for present purposes is that Kripke can be read as having provided the very notion of necessity that the vindication of analytical practice required, thereby saving analytic philosophers from Quine. That is, in fact, pretty much the way that Hughes reads him. For much of the first half of the 20th century, modality [i.e. necessity] had a somewhat marginal place in analytic philosophy. Kripke contributed more to its 'demarginalisation' than any other analytic philosopher. He did this by . . . vigorously and effectively addressing Quinean worries . . . and by bringing modal issues into various central debates in philosophy . . . The 'remodalisation' of metaphysics and the philosophy of language may retrospectively come to be thought of as Kripke's most important contribution to 20th-century philosophy. Those of us who, as undergraduates, learned philosophy from Quineans think of Kripke as a philosopher who (almost single-handedly) transformed the philosophical landscape. I think that's right, but with a caveat. It's not that pre-Kripkean analytic philosophy marginalised modality. Rather, it took for granted that necessary propositions arise from the analysis of concepts (or words, or both). That was the view that Quine seemed to have undermined, thus leaving analytic philosophers with two unsatisfactory choices: give up on analysis, or proceed without a credible account of their methodology. Kripke seemed to relieve them of this dilemma. No wonder analytic philosophy fell in love with him.

Here's the basic idea. One drops the traditional thesis that necessary propositions are linguistic or conceptual, and one substitutes a metaphysical account of necessity. Philosophy is to recognise not just the actual world that we live in but also a plethora of 'possible worlds'. The actual world is itself possible, of course; but so, too, is the world that's just like this one except that Mr James (a domestic feline who's currently having a nap) is awake and chasing mice. Similarly, there are worlds that are just like ours except that there's nobody in them, and worlds just like ours except that everybody is in them except President Bush. Likewise there are (brave, new) worlds in which I get Foucault's royalties and he gets mine. And so on. Notice, however, that there is no (possible) world in which 2+2=5; and none in which bachelors are married; and none in which George V reigned, but for less than a while. So, given this new ontology, we can identify necessarily true propositions with the ones that are true in every possible world, necessarily false propositions with the ones that are false in every possible world, and contingent propositions with the ones that are true in some possible worlds but not in all. Here we seem to have a nonconceptual notion of necessity. Whereas analytic philosophy used to be seen as tracing relations among concepts, it is now seen as tracing relations among possible worlds. A quick example will show how this is supposed to work. Some years ago, Hilary Putnam raised the following question, which analytic philosophy has been gnawing at ever since. Suppose somebody discovered a sort of stuff that is, to casual inspection, just like water (it's wet, it's clear and potable, it freezes at zero centigrade, has specific gravity 1, dissolves sugar, puts out fires and so forth) but the molecules of which have some chemical structure other than H2O ('XYZ' by convention). You are now invited to consult your intuitions: is XYZ water? If not, why not? The canonical intuition is that XYZ isn't water because being made of H2O is an essential property of water; whatever is a sample of water is ipso facto a sample of H2O, and nothing else could be. (It's an epistemological worry for essentialists that not everybody has the canonical intuition; in fact, some people don't have it quite vociferously, and perhaps they're right not to. But it would ease the exposition if you will kindly agree to ignore that. You can always change your mind about it later.) Interesting things follow if the intuition is granted; including, in particular, interesting modal things. For example, if it's right that nothing but H2O would count as water, then water is H2O in every possible world (more precisely, in every possible world where there is any). That is, given the modal intuitions, it's necessary that all and only water is H2O according to the metaphysical construal of necessity. Note further that this necessary truth is available a priori; at no point in the course of its discovery did philosophy stir from the armchair in which we found it. A little caution is, however, required here. What's a priori is the hypothetical proposition: 'If samples of water are samples of H2O, and nothing else is, then it's necessary that water is H2O.' By contrast, it isn't a priori that samples of water are samples of H2O; to the contrary, that's just the sort of grimy empirical generalisation that chemists discover inductively in their laboratories, to the accompaniment of bangs and stinks. A gratifying division of labour is thus perceptible: the chemists do the heavy lifting and the philosophers do the heavy thinking. It's clear from the empirical research that water is H2O in every possible world that is compatible with chemistry. What remains for philosophers to determine is whether water is H2O in every possible world tout court. Presumably it's our modal intuitions that decide this if anything does; they would seem to be all there is that's left unaccounted for by the time the chemists finish their investigations. It's therefore unsurprising that, in practice, analytic philosophers take it for granted that modal intuitions aren't fallible. This story ramifies in all sorts of directions; Hughes will fill you in. Once again, suffice it for our purposes to consider just the methodological implications. The situation pre-Kripke was that philosophers were supposed to disclose necessary, a priori truths that they arrived at by analysing words or concepts. Quine's attack seemed to put this project in jeopardy. If there are no conceptual truths, then, a fortiori, there are no conceptual truths for philosophy to deliver. But now it appears that Kripke has saved the bacon since there are, in any case, plenty of metaphysical necessities. And, as we've seen, metaphysical necessities can be discovered a priori by examining philosophically relevant intuitions. These are not, however, intuitions about relations among concepts: they're modal intuitions about what's possible and what isn't. In effect, analytic philosophy was doing the right sort of thing (viz, analysis) but for the wrong sort of reasons. That being straightened out, the pangs of conscience can now be soothed and everybody can go back to doing what he learned to do in graduate school. General rejoicing in the philosophical community. Plus or minus a bit, this is how Hughes sees the current methodological situation. I think that it's probably the majority view. But I doubt that it can be sustained. In this respect, the significance of Kripke's work has, I think, been much overestimated. If analytic philosophy had methodological problems pre-Kripke, it continues to have the very same problems, and for the very same reasons. Something about that to conclude. A kind of question that doesn't get asked often enough is: what are modal intuitions intuitions of? Consider, for example, the intuition that water is necessarily H2O. How do things have to be for it to be right? Or wrong? What's its 'truth maker', to use the philosophical jargon? An answer springs to mind in light of the previous discussion, but it doesn't survive reflection: 'For water to be necessarily H2O is just for water to be H2O in every possible world. For water not to be necessarily H2O is just for there to be possible worlds in which there's H2O but no water (or water but no H2O). That all follows from Kripke's account of necessity and is unproblematic. So there's nothing to worry about.' I guess that's alright as far as it goes; it is, as remarked, just a consequence of defining 'necessarily true' as 'true in all possible worlds'. But the question I was trying to raise wasn't: 'What about possible worlds makes it necessary that water is H2O?' My question was: 'What about water makes it necessary that water is H2O'? There must be something about water that does because, notice, there are plenty of kinds of stuff for which the corresponding modal claim would be false. For example, there's Coca Cola; Coke behaves quite differently from water in modal contexts. Suppose XYZ is the formula for Coke (I'm told they keep one in a vault in Atlanta). So, every (actual) sample of Coke is a sample of XYZ and vice versa. It doesn't follow that 'Coke is XYZ' is true in every possible world. To the contrary, the Coke people could change the recipe tomorrow if they wished to and, no doubt, there are possible worlds in which they do. The new stuff will still be Coke if they say it is. Likewise, mutatis mutandis, for smog. Every sample of smog is a sample of CO2 and god knows what else; but that's only contingently true. Perhaps tomorrow they'll find a way to pollute the air by using XYZ. Then, ceteris paribus (according to my modal intuitions), the right story would be that they've found a new way to make smog, not that they've found a way to make something that seems just like smog but isn't. So then, what's the actual difference between water, on the one hand, and Coke and smog, on the other, that accounts for these modal differences? I can only think of one answer: if water is actually H2O, then 'water is necessarily H2O' is some kind of conceptual truth. The idea (endorsed in one form or other by many analytic philosophers) is that 'water' is the concept of a 'material kind'. What's special about material kinds is that what possible things of that kind there are depends on what actual things of that kind there are. In effect, the kind is defined by reference to its actual instances. So, water is a material kind because every sample is ipso facto required to have the same microstructure that actual samples do. It follows that, if water is H2O in this world, it's H2O in every possible world. It also follows that samples of XYZ couldn't be water samples even if they seemed to be. Compare smog. What possible samples of smog have in common with actual samples isn't what they are (would be) made of but rather the way they (would) affect your eyes, nose, throat and view. In short, if K is the concept of a material kind, and if every actual thing that K applies to is made of n-stuff, then it's necessary that every thing that K (would) apply to is made of n-stuff. As far as I can make out, this is more or less the view that Hughes himself holds. He says: 'If it should turn out that only philosophers baulk at classifying XYZ as water, I am ready to defer in my usage to the nonphilosophical majority and say that "water", like "glue", is not the name of a kind with a chemical essence.' I guess what's going on is that, because he thinks Kripke refuted Quine, Hughes feels free to treat the modal status of 'water is H2O' as linguistically (or conceptually) determined. So it is, after all, our grasp of concepts (or our mastery of language) that underwrites the modal intuition that 'water is H2O' is necessary. It's just like the old days, really. It's past time to draw the moral, which I take to be that a plethora of claims to the contrary notwithstanding, you can't escape Quine's web just by opting for a metaphysical notion of necessity. Not, anyhow, if the latter is grounded in intuitions about what possible worlds there are. That's because some story is needed about what makes such intuitions true (or false) and, as far as I can see, the only candidates are facts about concepts. It's 'water' being a material kind concept that vindicates the intuition that water is necessarily H2O. Well, but if Quine is right and there aren't any such facts about concepts, then there is nothing to vindicate modal intuitions. Accordingly, if the methodology of analytic philosophy lacked a rationale pre-Kripke, it continues to do so.

                      ANALYTICAL epistemological strand prescriptive & deduction validative & dianoetic virtue epistemology aesthetical strand formalism & essentialism Truth QUID JURI philosophic subjective logical epistemological & ontological psychology & philosophy I – Is it rational? ethical strand virtue ethics experiences, creedal, allegorical subjective reality hermeneutical strand rational L Cerebral Hemisphere Left Frontal Lobe L Posterior Convexity ethical strand deontological ethics equations, literal & historical physical reality hermeneutical strand empirical L Limbic System IT – Is it real? ITS - Is it relevant? epistemological strand prudential & abduction injunctive & ananoetic coherence theory aesthetical strand Goodness QUID PRO QUO pragmatic interobjective practical axiological CONCEPTUAL ethical strand contractarian ethics expectations & moral objective reality hermeneutical strand practical

instrumentalism & sociology, moral agency economics & politics R Cerebral Hemisphere Right Frontal Lobe R Posterior Convexity epistemological strand interpretive and transduction interpretive & connaturality community of inquiry epistemology aesthetical strand expressionism & emotionalism R Limbic System WE - Is it rewarding? noncontradiction holds probabilities Love QUID AGITIS evaluative intersubjective hermeneutical teleological anthropology, worldviews & values identity necessities

Mapping Philosophy & Psychology excluded middle holds thinking sensing epistemological strand descriptive & induction apprehensive & perinoetic correspondence theory aesthetical strand imitationalism & mimesis possibilities Beauty QUID FACTI positivistic objective evidential symmetry & cosmological science & behaviorism excluded middle & noncontradiction actualities

 
intuition feeling ethical strand teleological ethics evaluations & anagogical ultimate reality hermeneutical strand cultural

 
STRUCTURAL

 
SOCIAL

 

 

 

 

 

 

Going META - how and when does this happen

In prior considerations I discussed a) the dianoetic, perinoetic and ananoetic distinctions b) the distinctions between different ananoetic enterprises, especially the univocal and equivocal, attributive and proportional, analogical and metaphorical, verifiable and unverifiable, falsifiable and unfalsifiable, and c) the quid juri and quid facti. Using those distinctions, below I want to explore more precisely how and when we, so to speak, go META, affirming the metamaneuver while suggesting some norms for same. One major note is our lack of conclusive ontological proof and demonstration 1) The normative sciences mediate between phenomenology and metaphysics. 2) The dianoetic mediates between the perinoetic and the ananoetic. 3) The quid juris mediates between the perinoetic and ananoetic. 4) The quid juris mediates between the perinoetic and ananoetic quid facti of the quid juris. Statements 1-3 are reiterations, different ways of saying the same thing. The 4th statement is also a reiteration of 1-3 but specifies the particular quid facti being taken under consideration, which, in this case, is the quid juris,

itself. As long as the perinoetic and ananoetic quid facti specify as their object of study any phenomena other than the dianoetic quid juri, knowledge advances through a fallibilistic feedback loop of alternating conjecture and criticism, i.e. popperian falsification. When the perinoetic and ananoetic take, as their object of study, the quid facti of the quid juri, at that juncture, the perinoetic and ananoetic have gone META, the fallibilistic feedback loop then looping around itself via this self-referencing maneuver. Going META through self-referencing ipso facto introduces new axioms which cannot be proven within the original system itself (cf. Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem). For example, and precisely pertinent to the case at hand, popperian falsifiability is not, itself, falsifiable, as Popper, himself, properly understood. Self-referencing is not the only way to go META. The introduction of novel primitives or givens, not formerly included in a particular formal system’s definitions and axioms, also takes us META. Introducing new axioms, whether through self-referencing or introduction of new primitives, which can sometimes be traced back to subtle redefinitions of terms or novel predications of concepts, is not an illicit maneuver. We simply must remain mindful of our Kierkegaardian leaps, or, to return to our original allegory, we must remain mindful of which courtyard, vestibule or room we are in epistemologically, especially once considering all of the different ways analogies can be employed. We must remember, too, that it is not the use of analogical thinking or metaphorical tools that, in and of itself, takes one META, as often seems to be the tu quoque charge against this or that epistemological enterprise by another. We must be mindful, then, of our changing axioms, re-definitions and re-predications, whether through the introduction of novel premises or through our self-referencing maneuver. Going META can then be quite fecund hypothetically. Take, for example, non-Euclidean geometry vis a vis relativity theory. We must also be mindful that, in what may amount to a multiplication of ontologies, so to speak, we have neither proved our ontological hypotheses nor demonstrated our ontological intuitions. This cannot be done, in principle. This is not to deny the cognitive force of our deductions, which can be quite compelling, variously. One of the perils of going META is that we can end up talking past one another, due to our different axioms, definitions, predications and primitives. Another peril is that this move can be made unconsciously, unreflectively and unawares and that can be quite inefficacious, destroying one’s own logical consistency and internal coherence. The other peril is the one I mentioned above regarding the mistaken notion that our ontology has somehow been proved or demonstrated. There are not only perils, though. There are promises. Even once having gone META, we can continue to proceed with our novel axioms, definitions, predications and primitives, employing popperian falsification for our new model of reality. It is important that we critique such meta-maneuvering using manifold epistemological criteria, such as logical consistency, internal coherence, external congruence, hypothetical consonance, interdisciplinary consilience, hypothetical fecundity, explanatory adequacy, falsification and the rest of the litany. We must remember that, even if the old axioms survive falsification attempts, our new axioms are neither verifiable nor falsifiable within our new system. Thus it that our systems compete for modeling power of reality, providing indispensable explanatory ideas even if not direct empirical proof or demonstration of intuitions. Now, specifically regarding the novel axiomatization that results from self-referencing, we may wish to think of our favorite spreadsheet software and how, after our having entered in a long string of digits and formulae, upon hitting enter, we encounter an error message: There is a circular reference in your formula. Sure enough, this is not a useful way of proceeding to mathematical truth using your average spreadsheet software, which is not programmed with an algorithm that corresponds to infinite set theory and utilizes what Peter Suber has called self-nesting. It is not a useful way to conduct most computer processing as many of us have encountered in infinite loop error messages. And, this is all especially relevant in our present consideration because it is precisely the self-referencing, circular-referencing and infinite loop errors we want to avoid when studying human consciousness, which is exactly what we are doing whenever we take, as our object of study, the quid facti of our human quid juri. My own mind has looped several times in just processing this line of thought, leaving me staring blank-faced at my monitor, that is, until I halt the loop error by re-booting, which is to say by backing up and checking my series of leaps to find where it is I tripped over my metaphysical bootstraps, and trust me, bootstraps are all they are. It is no particular hard truth that I have tripped over as it sticks out of any solid ontological ground. What about the very fact that I halted this looping, however? What about our capacity to reboot, to change our algorithms? Does that somehow give an indication that, in addition to algorithmic or computational consciousness, we possess a nonalgorithmic, noncomputational consciousness? Maybe this is why Ayn Rand and Peikoff suggested we introduce consciousness as a new primitive, alongside space, time, mass and energy in a type of naturalistic dualism? Maybe this is why Penrose introduces a novel quantum structure? Maybe this is why Chalmers takes his stance over against Dennett? Maybe this is why William James noted that we’ll be a long time deliberating over what others have called the hard problem of consciousness: “We are thrown back therefore upon the crude evidences of introspection on the one hand, with all its liabilities to deception, and, on the other hand, upon a priori postulates and probabilities. He who loves to balance nice doubts need be in no hurry to decide the point. Like Mephistopheles to Faust, he can say to himself, "dazu hast du noch eine lange Frist" [for that you’ve got a long wait], for from generation to generation the reasons adduced on both sides will grow more voluminous, and the discussion more refined.” Maybe we’ve just been gifted with cognitive dissonance such that, when we do get stumped or we do go into an infinite loop, we don’t suffer analysis paralysis but instead reboot, re-axiomatize, because we are roused from our intellectual stupor by a heavy emotional pang that bids us start over and fast, lest we be eaten by a lion, lest someone else gets the girl?

So it may be, too, with other computational errors related to circular referencing, self-referencing, self-nesting, infinite regress and causal disjunction. Cognitive dissonance has an adaptive significance in keeping our open-ended processors running, in keeping those neuronal pathways awash in neurotransmitters and firing away. It could be that this cognitive dissonance is, itself, also experienced in some way as Otto’s mysterium tremendum et fascinans, the holy. If there would be a great maladaptive significance to cognitive dissonance, it would lie in its tendency to induce skepticism regarding our conceptualizations and objectifications, making us too self-critical for our own good, for our very survival even. It is the holy, the numinous, the fascination with mystery (the noncomputational), when not being otherwise existentially threatened by it, that gives us some resistance to the deconstruction of our objectifications and conceptualization, which would have particular significance from a sociobiological perspective in preserving the objectification of values, however polynomic and confusing they may be, toward the end of maintaining the altruistic adaptations: reciprocal, kin and transkin (an importation of Ruse into this consideration). What we encounter in our consideration of speculative cognitive science, we’ll also encounter in speculative cosmology regarding origins and primitives via

theoretical physics. There is no definitive line between physics and metaphysics, but I have provided a heuristic to at least assist us to mindfully be aware of our leaps, navigating our way out of any room in the cottage quid juris or cottage quid facti that leads into nothing but a hall of epistemological mirrors. Can’t existence, itself, be taken as a predicate of being? Do the causal joints and disjuncts we encounter exist only in our conceptualizations and objectifications? Can we transcend our innate tendency to avoid their deconstruction? How do we know when we have reified or not in any critical realist, critically rational, realist metaphysic? What about the theologia dogmatica, naturalis and mystica? Does nondual awareness or other so-called numinous/mystical experiences provide us with useful rational info (this one is easy, actually: no, neither ontologically nor for the community-at-large)? The final consideration does a compare and contrast of the polynomic domains of value from the perspectives of an evolutionary epistemology and from theological perspectives.

[left]Ideally, the lists below would be in tablature. The first four are taken, pretty much verbatim, from Kelley Ross' tablatures. The others are my doing. The items enumerated 1-6 on each list correspond with one another. The purpose of this exercise is to compare and contrast the adaptive significance of these human values with their theistic objectifications. One thesis is that an account of the adaptive significance of these values is both necessary and sufficient. Another is that this account is necessary but not sufficient. The final arbiter quid juris is each of us. The manifold and varied deductive logical derivations of the putative quid facti of our disparate quid juris inclinations make for rich considerations with great heuristic value and hopefully some hypothetical fecundity.[/left] [left]The polynomic nature of these values is responsible for many ethical dilemmas, moral conundrums and theodicy issues. They also account for theories of our finitude and sinfulness vis a vis the obvious chasms between the essentialistic idealizations and their corresponding existential realizations, for example, original sin conceived as an ontological rupture of the past for substance philosophy, as perhaps an epistemological rupture of the present for a semiotic perspective, as a teleological striving for process thought, etc[[/left] [left]Domains of Polynomic Values[/left]

[left]1) truth of virtuous intent [/left] [left]2) truth of virtuous action[/left] [left]3) truth of virtuous objects[/left] [left]4) goodness[/left] [left]5) beauty[/left] [left]6) holy[/left] [left]Domains of Articulation of Values[/left]

[left]1) imperatives[/left] [left]2) imperatives[/left] [left]3) jussives or commands[/left] [left]4) hortatives or exhortations[/left] [left]5) optatives or wishes[/left] [left]6) pietatives or piety[/left] Domains of Analysis of Values

[left]1) deontological[/left] [left]2) deontological[/left] [left]3) deontological[/left] [left]4) teleological[/left] [left]5) aesthetical[/left] [left]6) numinosity[/left] [left]Domains of Polarities/Valences of Values[/left]

[left]1) good will vs ill will[/left] [left]2) right vs wrong[/left] [left]3) right vs wrong[/left] [left]4) good vs bad[/left]

[left]5) beautiful vs ugly[/left] [left]6) sacred vs polluted[/left]

[left]Evolutionary Adaptive Significance of Values by Domain – genetic and epigenetic rules for altruism – kin, reciprocal and transkin[/left]

[left]1) objectification of morality to provide added impetus to altruism[/left] [left]2) objectification of morality to provide added impetus to altruism[/left] [left]3) objectification of morality to provide added impetus to altruism[/left] [left]4) incentivizing altruism[/left] [left]5) incentivizing altruism[/left] [left]6) makes ethical skepticism re: objectification of morality counterintuitive[/left]

[left]Domains of the Theologia Naturalis of Values[/left]

[left]1) ontological hypothesis and material causation and primal being[/left] [left]2) epistemological hypothesis and formal causation and primal ground[/left] [left]3) epistemological hypothesis and formal causation and primal ground[/left] [left]4) axiological hypothesis and instrumental causation and primal order[/left] [left]5) cosmological hypothesis and efficient causation and primal origin and support[/left] [left]6) teleological hypothesis and final causation and primal goal or destiny[/left] [left]Domains of the Theologia Dogmatica of Values: a) creed corresponds to the articulation of truth encounters b) cult-ivation corresponds to the celebration of encounters of beauty c) code corresponds to attempts to preserve the goodness encountered and d) community comprises the institutional structure of organized religion. How much of creed, cult, code and community is derived from a religion's mystical core vs other aspects of a living tradition is debated. Such a mystical core comprises the Theologia Mystica, which has all of the problematics of ineffability discussed elsewhere regarding different forms of non-intuitive immediate awareness.[/left] [left]Domains of these values as they might correspond to Lonergan's conversions --- intellectual, affective, moral, socio-political and religious --- likely overlap. From an orthopraxis authenticates orthodoxy perspective, however, there may be some normative criteria from Lonergan/Gelpi that can be used in conjunction with other developmental paradigms (Piaget, Erikson, Kohlberg, Fowler et al), with Otto's numinosity and with the Friesian system of religious values. These can be combined to critique the major religions and ideologies to discern which best foster human growth.[/left]

[left]Regarding the is-ought disjunct, the journey from the given to the normative, from the descriptive to the prescriptive, or the naturalistic fallacy, much turns, axiologically, on the distinctions between the instrumental and the intrinsic, the latter being self-evident or self-justifying and closing the gap between is and ought, between being good and doing good, between means and ends, a closure formalized by Mortimer Adler by the coupling of a self-evident prescriptive premise with a descriptive premise and then reasoning to a moral conclusion. This formalization turns on one’s prior selection or rejection of certain axioms, however, so to speak, quid juris. [/left] [left]A related issue is whether or not existence can be used as a predicate of being and the response that it cannot is incorrect. It can be used as a predicate of being. The caveat is that this can only yield an analytic truth or tautology. Predicating being with existence or refusing to predicate it has no ontological significance. To reify or not reify, that is the question. Still, once having chosen certain axioms, such logical derivations can be variously compelling, such as, for instance, in modal ontological arguments that use equivocally predicated analogues and apophatically predicated variables vis a vis veiled causes of known effects. This would be the methodology for the epistemological, axiological, cosmological and teleological arguments also, prophylactically keeping God out of such metaphysical gaps as S/he can fall into with univocally predicated analogues. [/left] [left]Consequently, God becomes a) ontologically, Unreceived Existence b) epistemologically, Consistent Comprehendor c) Axiologically, Eternal Lawgiver d) cosmologically, the Unmoved Mover and e) teleologically, the Intelligent Designer. These inferences are derived from the epistemic desiderata of non-intuitive immediate knowledge, abduction, connaturality, the illative sense and the tacit dimension, again, such propositions proceeding neither by proof nor by demonstration but rather by deduction, coming about from the same Socratic method and logic of falsification as employed in science, which is essentially the use of our imaginative faculties to construct rules to explain phenomena followed by the testing of the logical consequences of those rules against those phenomena. It is precisely this formal construction within a framework of popperian falsification that is essential in qualifying such theological endeavors as as a science, this notwithstanding the eschatological timing of the falsification of some hypothetical elements of these arguments. Now, we know that, from the rules of formalization, every time we open a hermeneutical window, Reality slams an epistemological door, consistent with godelian constraints and other mutually occlusive occulting mechanisms (simply analogous to indeterminacy and complementarity). [/left] [left]What we observe, then, is that depending on one’s chosen metaphysic, these different God hypotheses will variously gain or lose cognitive impetus. This is just to suggest that for the semiotic realist, the epistemological argument may hold sway, while for the process thinkers, the teleological argument is more compelling. For the substance metaphysics, such as the thomisms, the cosmological argument is most in vogue. The axiological argument has broad popular appeal from many different arenas, such as from the moral argument of C.S. Lewis, but also from the semiotic realists and process cohorts in accounting for laws and habits (Peirce) or perhaps the existence of anthropic principles. It requires careful definition and rigorous predication of terms,

however, to avoid the confusion between a) equivocal and univocal analogues, b) metaphorical and apophatic meanings and c) an eminent God and a god of the gaps, not that it is illicit to place God in metaphysical gaps (witness some ID theorists), only that it is necessary that one be willing to accept Her possible disappearance, for as Emerson observed, God appears when the half-gods vanish.[/left] [left]A poem of sorts follows:[/left] You might be an agnostic if you survey the dianoetic approach of philosophy with its normative sciences of noetics (logic), aesthetics and ethics, with its distinctive platonic (rationalist-realist), kantian (rationalist-idealist), aristotelian (empiricist-realist), humean (empiricist-idealist), analytic (and linguistic), phenomenological, existentialist and pragmatist categories, movements and schools, with their various turns to the subject, to experience, to history, to community and their linguistic turns, hermeneutical turns (interpretive), critical turns (to praxis) inter alia and come to the conclusion that it is their very cacophony that leads one to the suspicion that it is all so much straw.

You might be an agnostic if you survey the ananoetic approach of metaphysics with its corresponding thomistic schools: the aristotelian, personalist, existential, analytic and transcendental inter alia, with its whiteheadian process approaches, with its manifold and varied monisms and dualisms, idealisms and realisms, rationalisms and empiricisms, with its various categories, movements and schools, based on being, substance, events, experience or semiotics, with its diverse speculative cosmologies and ontologies, and come to the conclusion that all metaphysics are fatally flawed thus leading one to the suspicion that it is all so much straw.

You might be an agnostic if you survey the diverse philosophical and metaphysical categories, movements and schools, and find them cascading down a hermeneutical cliff, one collapsing metaphor after another then yet another, all serving no other purpose but to fog up the interpretive landscape of reality with their rising mists of so many dense, obfuscatory droplets of jargonistic esoterica, a fog only to be burned away by the rising bright Helios of the perinoetic approach of science, thus brilliantly illuminating reality’s horizon, in whatever direction it may seem to recede, with its penetrating inferential rays of induction, abduction and deduction. If so, then you might especially be an agnostic if you survey the great religious and ideological traditions and find yet another cacophony of diverse creeds, cults, codes and communities with their disparate approaches to truth, goodness, beauty and love and their diverse obligations toward values: 1) imperatives (deontological analysis of intentions and actions), 2) jussives (deontological analysis of right and wrong - commands), 3) hortatives (teleological analysis of good and bad - exhortations), 4) optatives (aesthetic analysis of beautiful and ugly - wishes), and 5) pietatives (sacred and polluted - piety). You might be even more especially put off by the polynomic nature of these values insofar as these domains of value can vary independently of one another, in agreeing or conflicting in their valences, producing all types of ethical dilemmas, moral conundrums and theodicies. This moral reality has been aptly described using a slot machine metaphor where the valences/polarities of the values of right & wrong, good & bad, beautiful & ugly, sacred and unholy, are like separate rollers that give us a different combination with every pull of the arm in the game of life. The traditions cannot seem to even agree on what particular combinations yield various payoffs, much less a jackpot, or how such rewards come about in the first place. You might be somewhat of a religious pluralist, however, if after completing your dianoetic, ananoetic, perinoetic and theological surveys, the latter including the theologia dogmatica, theologia naturalis and theologia mystica, and if after allowing the normative sciences (logic, aesthetics and ethics) to mediate between the phenomenological / perinoetic and the metaphysical / ananoetic approaches, you then affirm the efficacies of an epistemological holism that expands beyond Maritain's dianoetic, ananoetic and perinoetic to include, also, his knowledge through connaturality, a holism that combines coherence and correspondence theories of truth in a friesian-like epistemology, thus moving forward with a piercian-like contrite fallibilism, which nuances an essential pragmatism with both a robust empiricism and a metaphysical realism (semiotic in Pierce‘s case, but one chooses one‘s own metaphysic). And, if in choosing your metaphysic, you move somewhat tentatively beyond your ontological undecidability to an ontological hypothetical, then you might could also affirm the efficacies of these myriad ontological and cosmological hypotheses insofar as they compete for modeling power of our ever-elusive reality, progressively tightening our epistemological grasp of same notwithstanding our built-in godelian constraints, increasingly improving our cartographical skills as we interpretively map the landscape of reality, awed by the resplendent beauty of the rays of truth and goodness that come to us in a rainbow of colors as refracted through the prisms of those tiny droplets, which, for so many others, appear as naught but a foggy agnostic mist. As for the game of life, we might then confidently affirm that, somewhere, somehow, Someone, just might have rigged the slot machine of existence such that, in our collective pull of the arm and spin of the rollers, between chance and necessity, between the random and systematic, between chaos and order, between paradox and pattern, between truth and falsity, between right and wrong, between good and evil, between the beautiful and ugly, between pleasure and pain, between love and hate, the rollers will be wholly, wholly, Holy. pax, amor et bonum jbClick Here for My Journey with Merton As we examine the relationships between faith and reason, between the evaluative and descriptive, between revealed theology and natural theology, between love and the conceptual, between praxis and theory, there are some very strong analogies between these distinguishable moments in human knowledge. Although faith may be privileged over reason, and the evaluative may be epistemologically prior to the descriptive, and the philosophic regulative of the positivistic, especially in a nonfoundationalist philosophy, such epistemic dyads, however otherwise asymmetrical, are best conceived in a relationship of mutual dependence, related to each other by way of mutual interpenetration. Perhaps we have contributed to the confusion that exists in the science and religion dialogue by talking so much about the relationship between faith and reason without distinguishing them from scientific research. What I am suggesting is that everything seems to get couched in terms of a tug of war between science and religion, as if there were no referee. Theologies of nature compete with natural science and then look to our courts and editorial pages to arbitrate any differences in their accounts of reality. Click Here for my reflections on Philosophical Naturalism The great American pragmatist, C. S. Pierce, maintained that the normative sciences mediate between phenomenology and metaphysics. My interpretation and extrapolation of this triadic relationship suggests, then, that we have a referee, an arbitrator, a mediator between science and religion. It is called philosophy. Simply restated, philosophy mediates between science and religion. It follows, for me, that the prescriptive mediates between the descriptive and the interpretive/evaluative. The philosophic mediates between the positivistic and meta-theoretical. Rules mediate between facts and interpretations/evaluations. Probability (less often necessity) mediates between actuality and possibility. An ought relates what is to what's worthwhile. The axiological mediates between the cosmological/ontological and the epistemological/teleological. Instrumental causation mediates between efficient/material causation and formal/final causation. In the last instance, advances in science have not obviated formal and final causation and have not really shrunk their operative realm, such as vis a vis any gap-inhabiting gods. Rather, they've set off, in sharper relief, the proper distinctions between these autonomous but related foci of human concern.

In the Intelligent Design debates, then, natural theology, more generically, natural philosophy, mediates between the theology of nature known as creationism and natural science, in this case, neo-Darwinian theory. Natural philosophy, theologies of nature and natural science are autonomous disciplines that are integrally related, which is to say that they are triadic and not trichotomous. We thus distinguish them as aspects, even moments, of human knowledge and not as dichotomous approaches to reality. If science thus concerns itself with where-when-what-how, or as space-time-mass-energy, and philosophy addresses why, then our theologies and worldviews, with their interpretive/evaluative perspectives, inform us regarding the question: "What's it to ya?". This entails a designation of both "what matters?" and "what matters most?" and helps us prioritize our sometimes competing values. No answer to a question about what matters will ever change our answers to what actually is. Thus a theology of nature really has nothing to say to natural science about science proper except to overlay an interpretation and evaluation of its findings, which, by the way, remain always subject to revision and falsification. A casual reading of the above-paragraph might leave the question begging regarding any role for natural philosophy. Aren't the distinctions between the where-when-what-how and why interrogatives enough to clarify the confusion and arbitrate any disputes? What role is left for natural philosophy? Well, the above-paragraph is natural philosophy. Distinguishing is its role. What keeps our courts busy, our editorial pages lively and philosophy departments vibrant, seems to me, is our habitual failure to draw careful distinctions, our innate tendency to consider all the distinctions that we do draw dichotomies and our utter lack of awareness (even denial) of our own philosophical presuppositions and prephilosophical interpretations and evaluations. This last category of interpretations and evaluations includes the realm of faith. Broadly conceived, it also includes those First Things, those first principles, which we adopt with neither rational demonstration nor empirical proof. These would include such beliefs as nature's intelligibility, human intelligence, the existence of minds other than our own, common sense takes on causality, principles of identity, excluded middle and noncontradiction. This would be in addition to our concerns with ultimates. Our ultimate concerns, our evaluations and interpretations of reality, our worldviews and belief systems, transcend both science and philosophy. Transcend, however, means to go beyond and not necessarily without. Thus it is that science and philosophy properly constrain worldviews and theologies, retaining full responsibility (autonomy) for determining answers to the questions of where, when, what, how and why things are, leaving worldviews to marvel over that things are and, possibly, Who might be responsible. As Wittgenstein said: "It is not HOW things are but THAT things are, which is the mystical." Thus reality is multi-textured and many-layered. Think of Scripture with its different approaches to reality: 1) literal and historical 2) moral 3) anagogical 4) allegorical and creedal and 5) mystical. In some sense, with respect to our religious takes on reality, these approaches mirror our above-described approaches to reality. The literal and historical meanings of Scripture correspond to science and are subject to the sciences of exegesis, literary criticism, archaeology, history and so forth. The moral meanings correspond to our philosophic enterprises. What's important to us and what we can hope for (anagogically) are contained in our stories (metanarratives) and creeds, all corresponding to our theologies and worldviews. The mystical grabs hold of all of us whenever we pause in awe and fascination with ineffable stupor at the very fact of existence, that there is something and not rather nothing, that there is something and not rather something else. Its provenance is not science or philosophy or theology but raw, pre-reflective existence immersed in this glorious contingency of a cosmos that we call home and responding viscerally with mysterium tremendem et fascinans. The broader debates, both within our legal system and within the ongoing science and religion dialogue, that involve the nonestablisment and free exercise clauses of the First Amendment, require rigorous definition, high nuance, deliberate predication and careful parsing, in a word, qualification. The issues are so complex that one cannot sacrifice one iota of qualification in favor of understandability in order to popularize one's argument without, at the same time, rendering it facile and inane, which is also to suggest, badly in need of new disambiguation. With this qualification, at the risk of being inane, let me facilely suggest that the seminal and recurring issue is primarily twofold: 1) Does epistemic virtue exist? 2) What is epistemic virtue? The first question presupposes its own answer, its conclusions embedded in its implicit presuppositions. Except for the global cohort of practical nihilists (and we might all shudder when either imagining its size or, especially, our own inadvertent contributions to its existence), and with speculative nihilism being self-contradictory, the rest of us seem to enjoy some measure of agreement that epistemology matters. I draw this inference from all of the ad hominems and tu quoques regarding scientism, fideism, positivism, empiricism, rationalism, encratism, pietism, quietism, fundamentalism and other insidious -isms. Cardinal Schönborn might take solace in this, at least to the extent that there seems to be some  consensus, over against his concern, that philosophy matters. Still, one might wonder how many of these would-be philosophers are both conscious of and competent in their own philosophizing. Personally, I'm optimistic and think that many are at least unconsciously competent (most believers, even, as I’ll explicate below). Despite the above-noted perils of popularization, however artful or inartful, and notwithstanding the associated pitfalls that the Cardinal, himself, realized, the overall thrust of his message, in my view, came through loud and clear. If I may express it in peircean terms, if we properly interpret the word "simple" in Occam's Razor moreso in terms of the facility (or ease and spontaneity) of an abduction (a hypothetical inference) rather than in terms of either the multiplication of ontologies or brevity of explanation, then the human abduction of God, as a facile and spontaneous act of human reason, is worthy of utmost respect. In my view, the Cardinal properly distinguished this act from either an exercise of science or an article of faith. As neither science nor religion, he wasn't defending the theology of nature known as creationism but, rather, natural theology, which is better popularized as natural philosophy. I didn't interpret the Cardinal's polemic as over against science and in favor of ID theory. Instead, I read it as an over against such a scientism as would hegemonistically curtail the autonomy of natural philosophy. For all the talk of a wedge strategy or creationism's trojan horse, there is a cohort of scientists who would like to conflate philosophy and science and thereby co-opt all of metaphysics. Peirce would instruct them, however, that the normative sciences mediate between phenomenology and metaphysics. Accordingly, philosophy mediates between science and the meta-theoretical, which includes M-theory, quantum gravity, string theory and, yes, unmoved Movers, none of which can be both consistently and completely formalized due to intrinsic gödelian constraints, all of which require the stuff  of First Things combined with metanarrative (storytelling) to convey their take on reality (whether the take of Stephen Hawking or that of Stanley Jaki). The principles of a) identity, b) noncontradiction and c) excluded middle, any belief in d) reality's intelligibility, e) humankind's intelligence or even f) the existence of other minds, are neither empirically demonstrable nor rationally provable. Neither are our classical and common sense beliefs in g) traditional causality. Yet, even as we maintain that philosophy, science and meta-theory are autonomous and cannot be conflated, in principle (if only by definition or convention), we must recognize and affirm their integral relationality. Also, they are not only relational in their autonomy but are also hierarchical because, due to our indubitable human finitude, our human faith in First Things enjoys a certain primacy. This faith is necessarily epistemologically prior, then, even for the scientist. Why is there this something (our finitude necessitating faith) rather than something else? Good question. Does this present a conundrum vis a vis doxastic and propositional justification, between foundational and nonfoundational approaches? If faith is epistemologically prior, based on otherwise a priori axioms, unconditionally subscribed to, then how might anyone arbitrate whose epistemic approach exhibits virtue and whose vice, more or less? I think one might reasonably advance (and then empirically measure) the hypothesis that, when humankind has responded to Reality allowing its spontaneous philosophic impulses to mediate between its positivistic and meta-theoretical endeavors, then our species has inexorably advanced in knowledge, however fallibly. Thus it has been that epistemic orthopraxis has authenticated epistemic orthodoxy. Now, we can catalogue virtue and vice in terms of those who would assert autonomy and/or primacy for religion, science or philosophy without recognizing their integral relationality. Philosophy mediates between science and religion. First Things mediate between Science and Last Things. Scientism is the conflation of philosophy, metaphysics and science. Fideism is the assertion of religion's primacy and the denial of science's autonomy. Pietism is an overemphasis of the kataphatic and affective. Quietism is an overemphasis of the apophatic and affective. Rationalism is an overemphasis of the kataphatic and speculative, an assertion of philosophy's autonomy but a denial of its integral relationality to science and the empirical. Encratism is an overemphasis of the apophatic and speculative. And so on and so forth.

Hawking was wrong in his assertion that certain gödelian-like constraints marked the end of physics and others have been premature in declaring the death of philosophy or metaphysics. What has died, rather, is logical positivism and radical empiricism. What still needs to die is the radical fundamentalism of both scientism and fideism, with their indefensible a priorism, before they get us all killed. When it comes to the meta-theories of natural philosophy, the monisms, both materialist and idealist, suffer the inescapable paradox of a question begging infinite regress (and so do any semiotic explanations that aspire to be metaphysical). The deisms and theisms suffer their own paradox of causal disjunction, a type of ontological discontinuity through their invocation of progressively weaker causal analogies. All metaphysics are fatally flawed, pregnant with paradox, and we are left with the task of, at best, choosing the least morbid, the one least likely to multiple birth. I’m wagering with Pascal on the more aesthetic account (hey, it’s worked in cosmology, theoretical physics and math theory) and with the God of the Philosophers, all with recourse to the time-honored reductio ad absurdum, although I speak only for that self of mine, you know, that self which is inhabiting this dimension, and am not otherwise speaking for my infinite other selves, which are reportedly self-propagating in parallel-multiverses, collapsing wave functions in the forms of my ever-expansive, metaphysical alter-egos. Choose, carefully, the paradox that will slay you. The good money’s on the consistent but incomplete theory, the one that doesn’t banish all mystery in an anxiety-driven rush to closure. In his latest column on "intelligent design," William Rusher suggested that many ID opponents are not acting as scientists when confronting this "interesting new theory." Rather, "they are scared out of their wits -- as if this particular theory threatens to do fatal damage to their whole concept of the cosmos." In September 2005, he had written of this same cohort of evolutionists: "And let their response be included in courses on logic, as a stellar example of intellectual dishonesty." Opponents of ID have similarly questioned the integrity of some ID proponents and their "wedge strategy," characterizing that handful as crafting "creationism's trojan horse." I haven't read "Creationism's Trojan Horse" by Forrest & Gross (Oxford University Press, 2004) but I did read what Rusher described as the judge's "series of gratuitous slaps at the School Board." I find this ongoing litany of ad hominem and tu quoque exchanges interesting. I lack the legal expertise to fully understand how these exchanges are dispositive of the church and state issue but the ruling did find that the Dover defendants "consciously chose to change Dover’s biology curriculum to advance religion." I can't argue with the judge's finding that Dover's citizens were poorly served by an utter waste of money and time, especially by certain individuals who even lied to cover their tracks. As for cock-a-hoops (Rusher) and hornswoggles (Forrest), I don't know what they are but I do suspect they will indeed be never-ending. The seminal issue of whether ID is science is something I better understand. This ruling declares it is not. It didn’t get into the necessary subtley and nuance I set forth previously, above, however. The struggle is not over. Constant vigilance will be required to preserve our First Amendment rights. Our "Free Exercise" and "Nonestablishment" clauses related the benefits of the Enlightenment to the time-honored fruits of religion in a manner that allowed religion to flourish in America over against those governments that devitalized religion through, on one hand, its marginalization by Enlightenment fundamentalism, on the other hand, its merging into theocracies by various religious fundamentalisms. Our Founders ingeniously struck the proper delicate balance and we must maintain it. How should we define and relate science and religion in both general and legal terms? Most of the arguments in the science and religion dialogue, in general, and in legal jurisprudence, in particular, turn on how broad or how narrow each of these definitions should be. These are very complex questions that I have pondered like irresolvable Zen koans for years. This complexity is mirrored in the science and religion dialogue literature and in the struggle with definitional problems by legal scholars and courts. It manifests in rigorous definitions, high nuance, deliberate predication and careful parsing --- all which cannot be surrendered for popularization and understandability without rendering one’s arguments facile and inane, for example, like Rusher’s, the Dover School Board’s and even like those of evolutionist Richard Dawkins. So, with the above caveats in mind, practically speaking, below are some criteria I have gathered for a fallibilistic attempt at a Theory of Everything: 1) Looking for an explanation in common sensical terms of causation is not unreasonable. 2) Looking around at the whole of reality and wondering who, what, when, where, how and why re: any given part of it or re: reality as a whole is a meaningful pursuit. 3) Almost everyone comes up with an abduction of God (or per CSP, an argument, by which he simply means a god hypothesis) or some othernamed primal cause of it all. 4) Some use a substance approach, describing all of reality in those thomistic-aristotelian terms like form, substance, esse, essence and with nuances like analogy of being. It doesn't have explanatory adequacy in terms of leading to a universally compelling proof through formal argument in tandem with empirical experience because, by the time we have suitably predicated a god-concept, the dissimilarities and discontinuities between God and creature so far outnumber the similarities that a causal disjunction paradox is introduced. How can a Cause so unrelated to other causes and not at all explicable in intelligible terms vis a vis other causes really, effectively, efficaciously truly effect anything. Also, substance approaches are too essentialistic, as they were classically conceived, iow, too static. This has been addressed with substance-process approaches but these still suffer the causal disjunct. 5) Some describe reality dynamically interms of process and fall into nominalism, violating our common sense experience of reality as truly representative of real meaning. They account for process and dynamics but do not account for content that is communicated. These explanations, especially if materialist or idealist monisms also tend to fall into an infinte regress of causes. The only way to stop them is with some type of ontological discontinuity, which introduces the old causal disjunct. 6) Some, seeing this conundrum, with the causal disjuncts and essentialisms of substance approaches and the infinite regressions and nominalism of process approaches, and with the a prioristic context in which they are grounded, prescind from such metaphysics or ontologies to a semiotic approach which then avoids nominalism by providing both a dynamic process and content (meaning) and which avoids essentialism by being dynamic. It also avoids a causal disjunction since all of reality is not framed up in terms of substance and being but rather in semiotic and modal terms, such as sign, interpreter, syntax, symbol, such as possible, actual, necessary and probable. To prescind from these other metaphysical perspectives does solve a host of problems and does eliminate many mutual occlusivities and unintelligibilities and paradoxes, but it still levaes the question begging as to the origin of things like chance, probability, necessity. IOW, one inescapably must get ontological again to satisfy the human curiosity, not wrongheaded, imo, with respect to causal inferences that naturally arise and which, in fact, ground our scientific method and epistemologies. Why? Well, because causes must be proportionate and whatever or whomever or however the Cause of causes, of chances, of probabilities is --- is then like the semiotic process and modal realities we can describe in many ways but necessarily unlike them in many more ways. 7) Still, Peirce may be right insofar as he suggests that going beyond this simple abduction to a more exhuastive description of the putative deity is a fetish (we can't help ourselves), there is a great deal of useful info (pragmatic maxim or cash-value) to be gathered from the analogies we might then draw from the semiotic and modal similarities that do exist. God is thus intelligible, not to be confused with comprehensible. 8) So, my thoughts are that we cannot get away from a) some type of substance approach, from ontology, from being, from esse ... if we are to address the paradox of infinite regress b) some type of process approach, if we are to avoid essentialism and causal disjunctions and c) some type of semiotic approach, if we are to avoid nominalism and account for meaning and communicative content and d) some type of theistic approach, if we are to avoid leaving the questions of origin begging and if we are going to preserve our common sensical notions of classical causality, upon which much of our community of inquiry depends, such as re: scientific method. 9) This does not mean we can syncretistically and facilely combine these above approaches into some master paradigm of semitoic-substanceprocess panentheism. There is a problem of renormalization, which is to say that they often employ mutually incompatible and contradictory

terms and approaches, analogously speaking, sometimes using noneuclidean geometry, sometimes base 2, sometimes spatialized time, sometimes temporalized space, sometimes imaginary numbers. It is analogous to the same project that would try to combine quantum mechanics with general and special relativity to describe quantum gravity. It is not just analogous to this renormalization in physics required before a TOE is contrived, the normalization of physical theories would itself be part of the TOE we are working on! 10) What happens then is that by the time we finish renormalizing all of our theories, predicating and defining and nuancing and disambiguating all of our concepts, we will have effectively generated a novel language with its own grammar, its own terms ... and it will be so arcane and esoteric and inaccessible ... it would be like reading something that fellow johnboy wrote, when he was relating his latest interpretation of Thomas Merton as seen through a kurt-vonnegutian hermeneutic. 11) All of the above notwithstanding, this TOE project is fun and we can glimpse enough insight from it to inform our theological anthropologies and formative spiritualities. All I have done thus far hereinabove is to get us to some metaphysical deity. What might be Her attributes? See http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=2352 pax, jb see http://bellsouthpwp.net/p/e/per-ardua-ad-astra/architectonic.htm A note re: unitive consciousness We do not equate mere unitive consciousness (simple awareness, simple seeing) with Christian contemplation, although I believe this form of contemplation can indeed enhance and enrich same if we allow it to dwell within us, influencing and interpenetrating our other contemplative approaches to God. If by "unitive consciousness" one refers to a nondual state of awareness or an experience of absolute unitary being, then I would say, yes, there, one is simply aware, simply seeing. This would be a natural mysticism (Maritain's mysticism of the self, even Zen) engendered by a metaphilosophical contemplation, which is distinct from the intuition of being engendered by a philosophical, metaphysical contemplation. The latter is a mystical experience of the supernatural order for it knows God (through creation, through concepts and through the intuition of being). The former is not. There is another mystical experience of the supernatural order, Maritain's mystical contemplation, which comes from an affective connaturality, which also knows God. He writes: "Christian contemplation is the fruit of the gift of Wisdom; and this gift although a habitus of the intelligence... depends essentially on charity, and consequently on sanctifying grace, and causes us to know God by a sort of connaturality - in an affective, experimental and obscure manner, because superior to every concept and image." Contrastingly, natural mysticism proceeds from an intellectual connaturality, albeit it is supra- or para-conceptual. Arraj writes: "This is a metaphilosophical contemplation that reverses rather than continues the normal direction of philosophical contemplation by achieving its knowledge at the price of the elimination of all concepts." Hence, this natural mysticism of unitive consciousness is existential and not theological; it has encountered an absoluteness of esse but not as distinguishable from Ipsum Esse Subsistens. As Maritain writes: "And how could this experience, being purely negative, distinguish one absolute from the other? Inasmuch as it is a purely negative experience, it neither confuses nor distinguishes them. And since therein is attained no content in the ‘essential’ order, no quid, it is comprehensible that philosophic thought, reflecting upon such an experience, fatally runs the danger of identifying in some measure one absolute with the other, that absolute which is the mirror and that which is perceived in the mirror. The same word ‘atman’ designates the human Self and the supreme Self." Arraj amplifies: "In short, the very powerful yet obscure experience of our own existence can become the doorway through which we can pursue, not the path of essence, but that of existence to the very bedrock of the human spirit which is our very existence as it comes forth from the source of existence. But this existence is known through the medium of emptiness so that there is no way to distinguish the existence of the soul, the existence of all created things and the existence which is God." There is all the difference between journeying without concepts and journeying, for a moment, beyond concepts with an affective connaturality. Of course, although distinct, both philosophical and mystical contemplation as well as natural mysticism can be united in many different ways in all of us sojourners. This would all be consistent with Merton’s distinctions between the existential and theological, natural and supernatural, apophatic and kataphatic, impersonal and personal in Eastern vs Christian mysticism. Finally, I look forward to exploring some of the correspondence between Merton and Maritain, especially re: the notion of masked contemplation in more active people. Notes on Alejandro Garcia-Rivera’s: A Wounded Innocence ---- mixed with my own and others words What would happen if we took the visual seriously in theology? the measure of the woundedness of language if language and the brain co-evolved in our species, the symbolic species per Terry Deacon, and if nonalgorithmic information processing is the je ne sais quois of human rationality, and if we share with the rest of creation a radical finitude, then, whatever it has been in humanity's history, whether in terms of our finitude or in our willful failure to cooperate in community, that wounded our nascent, innocent language, a new humanism can bring the theological and historical, the spiritual and artistic, the textbook and the living, together (cf WI pg. 122) This is reminiscent of what is distinctive in Augustine's epistemology: to know God certainly entails mastery of information, but it also entails personal contact. (cf A.N. Williams, "Contemplation," __Knowing the Triune God__ edited by Buckley & Yeago, pg. 122)? It also seems to echo F.J. van Beeck: "Even though theology, as instanced by Aquinas and Rahner, has traditionally opened the systematic exposition of the Christian faith by an analysis of natural religious knowledge, this has never served to deny that the Christian faith is epistemologically prior. (cf. __God Encountered__ pp 139)" And this seems to be true in any scientia? that the supra-rational, nonrational and pre-rational are necesarily epistemologically prior to the rational, being, as they are, integral to the human knowledge manifold ensemble. This is a nonfoundational epistemic suite, an ensemble vouching of each rationality for all the others, so to speak, trans-rationally. It is elevated by the grace of transmuted experience and realized in Lonergan's conversions. As such, this "[c]ontemplation [of wounded innocence] is neither the statement of a set of postulates discovered by the assiduous effort of the human mind, nor some sort of doctrinally denuded reverie (Williams pg. 144)" and the "contemplative character of [this] theology [of living aesthetics] points to not only a disciplinary, but an existential unity. Just as the contemplation that is theology cannot be separated from the contemplation that is prayer, so an authentically Christian existence consists in a unity, in virtue of which this life is inseparably wedded to the next. (Williams pg. 147) If the history of philosophy is bound up with the story of human language, then the history of theology will, in part, necessarily mirror the impaling of our authentic humanity by the twin-edged swords of various age-old distinctions turned dichotomies: physics and metaphysics, being and nonbeing, real and ideal, rational and empirical, icon and index. It is not that there were not epistemological shouts along the way, plaintive warnings to "step back" and avoid

these sundering blades by Plotinus, pseudo-Dionysius, John Duns Scotus, John of St. Thomas and others? And if the history of philosophy follows the history of languages, both pre-modern and modern, from the Greek to the Latin to the Continental, then it may be less of a surprise that the post-modern would find a robust expression in America, which, with its language-transcendent global perspective, as gifted by its cultural-linguistic melting pot, would produce pragmatism (as therapy). To wit: "And because the intellectualism that James deplored has done at least as much damage in theology and in philosophy, we can wholeheartedly welcome his insistence that reality is richer than reflection; that it is not by pure reason alone that we can take our bearings and find our way (quite apart from the fact that reason is never as pure, as devoid of passion and particular interest, as its advocates suppose it to be); that quality of feeling is no less important to our well- being than quality of argument ... (Nicholas Lash, _Easter in Ordinary__, pg 86)." If a Jamesian pragmatism was indeed therapeutic, the cure may have been worse than the disease: "It is these disjunctive contrasts and, with their aid, the confining of the territory of the personal to the realm of the individual, private feeling and emotion, which renders the Jamesian account at once so seductive and so dangerous. The situation is not lacking in tragic irony. By calling us back from the death-dealing rigidity of institutional order,  and from the divisiveness of intellectual debate, to some primordial realm of pure experience in which the individual may "apprehend" himself to "stand in relation" to that "continuum of consciousness" of which we each form part, James sought to secure firm foundations for religious truth, prospects for progress, and a basis for social harmony. And yet, the foundations turn out to be nothing firmer than the fragile optimism of an excited ego entertaining dubious hypotheses concerning the paranormal. (Lash pg. 88)" From the outside of academia looking in, the more I looked at academic philosophy, the less it seemed worthy of my time. Not usually given to succinctness, I was ready to write it all off, taking away only these lessons: that not every distinction is a dichotomy, that different human rationalities often enjoy primacy but seldom autonomy, and, very generally, that when one chooses to go beyond (for instance, the head or heart), it is best not to also go without (again, the heart or head). What everyone seemed to be searching for was "a common ground in which there were no fences," a "familiar field" that "transcended all fences, methodological issues, and all claims." (WI pg. 122). And this search was urgent, for it was nothing less than a stepping back off of the piercing swords of false dichotomies, a stepping back from the essentialistic-existential chasm, a mending of every rupture, whether epistemological, ontological, cosmological, teleological, or axiological. And if pragmatism and semiology turned away in somewhat halting, incohate false-starts, pragmaticism and semiotics would soon more fully and effectively prescind. Its lesson has been that, if any vestige of innocence remains, some saving remnant of continuity amongst the manifold and multiform seemingdiscontinuities, it has not been located in our philosophies of nature, being, ideas or linguistics, nor has it been found in our various turns, whether historical, subjective, hermeneutical (interpretive), linguistic, critical (praxis) or even to experience, though the latter came the closest. Truest to our radically social human nature, it has been the turn to experience and community which has gifted us, now here, now there, with "paradise regained," evanescent though it may seem, ephemeral thought it may be. For Maritain, our fallen-redeemed humanity realizes the fruits of this continuity of experience via community in "the simultaneous peace and delight of the mind and the senses" enjoyed as beauty (and through these very senses and intuition). Beauty, then, is the door through which we pass into the vestibule of original innocence. Beauty is the reality experienced as an indubitable continuity between innocent humanity, fallen humanity, fallen-redeemed humanity, and, anagogically, humanity eschatologically returning to Primal Beauty. The Holy Breath bids the Bride, "Come!" for you are betrothed, this life of yours wedded, inseparably, to the next. Is this credible, especially once considering our brutal inhumanity? "The mark of our humanity lies in works of beauty. That humans are rational may be questioned and violence mainly points out our inhumanity byt there's no doubt that works of art mark that human presence. Indeed, what we find at the origins of humanity are not books of philosophy or murderous bands of savages but artists capable of incredible works of beauty. A gaze at the lines that reveal the bison forms shows something more than intelligence or violence at work. Such lines reveal a disciplined freedom, a gracefulness that is more than the work of a self-conscious mind. They are an epiphany ofthe human soul. Indeed, these graced curves of the bison reveal a mysterious and marvelous union of sensibility and creativity that guided a human soul to shape a set of lines that still evoke, even 30,000 years later, a sense of childlike wonder, and yes, beauty. We have labeled these first artists "primitive," suggesting their minds were not as developed as ours. Yet if intelligence is to be measured by its beauty, then these first artists may have been more intelligent than we who live today with little to show by way of the intelligence of beauty." (WI pg. 12) Musings Regarding Metaphysics I think one of the things that drew me to metaphysics was my curiosity about how everything is connected and what makes it all tick. You ever get in a conversation with a very curious child wherein one question led to the next, then to another and yet another, almost interminably? And they finally took you to the point where you'd say: "Go ask your Mom (or Dad, or teacher)!" or, perhaps: "Go look it up in the encylopedia (or at the library or, nowadays, on the Internet)!" One thing such curiosity led to, in my case, was a passion for pigeonholing, for bookmarking, for categorizing, for organizing ... ... bits of knowledge. How is this related to that? And thus it is the human noosphere has been diced and sliced, whether by internet domains, the Dewey Decimal System or the list of academic disciplines at the local university. If you, in the least, have a fetish for such --- every idea having its place and every idea in its place ---, then you'll really enjoy metaphysics. In other words, if you are an Enneagram 5, doing metaphysics could be as great a weakness as it is a strength All that said, and after so many years, I have made up my own grand schema of things. It doesn't correspond perfectly with others' categories but it works for me --- as far as pigeonholing goes. Why it differs from other schemes is part of metaphysics, itself. (More later, maybe). I group things in a set of pigeonholes that, if they were a spreadsheet or matrix, would have four categories going across the top (the x-axis or horizontally) and four categories going down the side (the y-axis or vertically). This makes for sixteen little mailboxes in which to place various parcels of reality each day (to be read when others are counting sheep or if Letterman is otherwise unappealing that particular night). Across the top, I place: A) Truth B) Beauty C) Goodness D) Love. Down the side, I place: 1) Facts about different parts of reality 2) Rules about different parts of reality 3) Facts & Rules about the whole of reality 4) Human Responses to all of these facts and rules.

Of course, I have names for each of my sixteen mailboxes. One might have fun guessing what they are. I'll address them later. For that matter, one might have even more fun constructing their own mailboxes. I hope you have fun and I'll do my best to keep it fun (because, after all, who wants to play Post Office alone?). Best, pax jb http://www.geocities.com/campmerci/index.html re: the mailboxes Other names for the categories regarding 1) Facts - the descriptive sciences; the positivistic realm; the practical and theoretical and heuristic sciences 2) Rules - the normative sciences; the philosophic realm 3) Facts and Rules about the reality as a whole - metaphysics, ideologies, worldviews, theories of everything; the theistic realm 4) Human Responses - different conversions; the theotic realm So, those categories might roughly correspond to Daniel Helminiak's realms of concern. The other categories in the matrix correspond to the divine attributes: a) truth, b) beauty and c) goodness ... ... and d) love. None of this is hard and fast, but the pigeonholes would thus be: 1) facts a) science b) arts & humanities c) law d) relationships and all of the above, so to speak, broadly conceived 2) rules a) logic b) aesthetics c) ethics d) politics 3) facts & rules - theories of everything a) epistemological b) cosmological & ontological c) axiological d) teleological 4) human responses (Lonergan) a) intellectual conversion b) affective conversion c) moral conversion d) social-political conversion When religion informs our perspective: 3) facts & rules - theistic theories of everything a) creed (doctrine, dogma) b) cult (ritual) c) code (law) d) community A quote from Thomas Merton's Sign of Jonas: quote: I wish I had gone into my study of theology with something more of the mind of St. Dominic. The thing I lack most is the outstanding Dominican characteristic of sharpness, definiteness, precision in theology. I admit that sometimes their precision is the fruit of oversimplification: but it is good anyway. The sharp contrast between the Dominican colors -- black and white -- is a good symbol of the Dominican mind which likes clear cut divisuions and distinctions. A day later, in his journal, he wrote: quote: Sana doctrina! What an ideal! Clean and precise thinking --- sweeping the world clean of the dust of heresy and bad theology. I need that sana doctrina and it will not hurt me at all to realize that everyone who loves

Truth is, in this world, called upon in some measure to defend it. So, there are my oversimplifications ... and my measure of defense. pax, jb http://www.geocities.com/campmerci/index.html Another quote from Thomas Merton: quote: In the short Prologue of St. Thomas Aquinas to his Summa Theologiae is a very beautiful paragraph containing a whole discipline of study: his three points are that students -- beginners, but it applies to all -- are impeded from arriving at truth by 1) the great number of useless questions, arguments and articles 2) the lack of order in the way doctrine is presented 3) repetition which produces confusion and boredom. The Dominicans and Cistercians had at least this in common --- that they wanted to get rid of all non-essentials.

I can best relate to the need for order. I can even relate to the distinction between useless and useful questions and arguments. My biggest mea culpa in sharing my interests in metaphysics has been doing so without being both confusing and boring! I made some snide remark, just today, about Enneagram 2's not setting boundaries and my dear wife, self-described as a flaming 2, promptly pointed out that others of us have our own faults, too! And I readily admitted that one of my chief characteristics was being ... um ... ... uninteresting Thus, aside from my pigeonholing fetish, we'll be leaning heavily on Phil's teaching charism pax, jb http://www.geocities.com/campmerci/index.html Still in a preliminary remark mode, there are some general observations one can make regarding the difference(s) the Gospel makes in our vision of reality. First, we might consider what the Good News does NOT address in those realms of the positivistic-descriptive sciences (facts) and philosophic-normative sciences (rules), or even rearding our various metaphysics and theories of everything. It doesn't tell scientists when to use Euclidean geometry or imaginary numbers, or Einsteinian or Newtonian physics, or how to best marry quantum mechanics and special relativity. It doesn't tell philosophers whether to be pragmatists or phenomenologists, platonists or aristoteleans, humean* (see note below) or kantian. It doesn't tell thomists whether to be analytical or transcendentalists, existentialists or personalists. It doesn't recommend thomism over scotism, for that matter. It doesn't tell metaphysicians what to use as a root metaphor, whether substance or process or experience or something else. It doesn't even tell us exactly how to do aesthetics or ethics or politics, how to write literature or practice law. It doesn't recommend socialism over communism over tribalism, democracy over a monarchy, or napoleonic code over common law. The Good News DOES cloak all of reality with purpose, crowning creation in glory and humankind with dignity, affirming that we are precious and honored in God's sight and that His banner over us is love. The Good News does provide the lens of realism in these affirmations of reality. It affirms the cosmos as rational: humankind is intelligent and, furthermore, reality is intelligible. In our epistemologies, whatever they are, we must at the least be realists, which is only to say that we affirm that we really can know reality, however fallibly and partially. In our metaphysics, whatever they are, we must at least be realists, which is to suggest that our cosmologies and ontologies really do describe, however fallibly and partially, our ever-tightening grasp of reality. In our ethics and moralities, we must at the least be realists, which means we affirm that there really are objective laws and norms of behavior, however dynamic, that we can come to understand better and better. Whatever one's scientific or philosophical or metaphysical outlook, the Gospel affirms a critical realism, a metaphysical realism and a moral realism. There is another type of realism, which is more related to the notion of being realistic, that can best be illustrated by the idea of political realism, which is also part of our Gospel tradition. Political realism is realistic in the sense that it recognizes both humankind's finitude and

sinfulness. This is to say that, whatever our ideals and values may be, it is to be expected that, notwithstanding our origin and destiny in Love, we will fall short. Our immersion in finitude and sin, both our own and that of others, calls for a certain pastoral sensitivity, in other words, compassion. At the same time, our immersion in grace and mercy calls for a response, too, and a reasonable set of expectations regarding our journey of transformation through ongoing conversion, our responsibility to the Good News. In conclusion, one doesn't really need to know a whole lot about the details of science or philosophy or metaphysics. One needn't be conversant with any of the terms I used to describe the manifold and varied approaches of science and philosophy in the above-paragraph that spoke to the issue of what the Good News does not address (sigh of relief). As a Christian, even without knowing all of the nuances and details of scientific advances and philosophic musing, one can expect that any scientist, philosopher, metaphysician or ethicist, claiming to be rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, will be a realist: epistemologically, metaphysically, morally and politically, because, whatever your stance toward Coca Cola, Jesus is THE REAL THING, what the world needs today! pax, amor et bonum, jb Note: The Gospel does make each of our 16 little hermeneutical mailboxes a holon of sorts, all containing and reflecting the whole of reality in an interaction of truth and beauty and goodness and love. We do, therefore, reject the naturalistic fallacy, the notion that one cannot get from is to ought, from the given to the normative, from the descriptive to the prescriptive, or what have you. So, as for the *humean approach ... well, it's very problematical to me (to put it mildly). http://www.geocities.com/campmerci/index.html Arguments or apologetics for a Theory of Everything, whether by Hawking or Dawkins, Moses or Reverend Moon, tend to have several, sometimes all, of the following characteristics, which are both descriptive and prescriptive in connotation: deal with reality taken as a whole not formally constructed - not completely formal or formulaic or mathematical allegorical - use of metanarrative, myth, analogy and/or metaphor to evoke an otherwise appropriate response to ultimate reality anagogical - express elements of hope or desired outcomes moral - make appeals to virtue, whether epistemological, anagogical, moral, socio-political or religious literal - include some literal-historical facts super-reasonable or supra-rational - consistent with logic and reason while going beyond them nonrational and transrational - include aesthetic elements, affective appeals, pragmatic criteria and supra-rational axioms employ unproven axioms appeal to self-evident truth incomplete - lack comprehensive explanatory adequacy; remain somewhat question begging inconsistent - have embedded paradox or terms that are incompatible, incommensurable, mutually occlusive or mutually unintelligible unverifiable - not falsifiable tautological - conclusions are imbedded in premises of argument; employ circular referentiality suffer infinite regress suffer causal disjunction begin in media res implicitly or explicity suggest spiritual imperatives to our existential orientations

other miscellaneous characteristics: dualistic - various dualisms monistic pluralistic triadic relational a prioristic essentialistic nominalistic substantialistic materialistic relationalistic absolutistic encratistic - overemphasize speculative and apophatic pietistic - overemphaisize affective and kataphatic quietistic - overemphasize affective and apophatic rationalistic - overemphasize speculative and kataphatic Further Comments: Especially since the human transformative process is precisely a growth trajectory thingy, we recognize a developmental aspect to our own and others' lives. One could argue that certain so-called delusions are, in fact, developmentally-appropriate for this or that person, or eeven this or that group of people, similarly situated. Further, not all delusions are created equal and some are more or less benign, others more or less malignant, via a vis being lifeenhancing/relationship-enhancing versus life-destroying/relationship-destroying. It is with much discernment, therefore, that one must choose when to attempt to dispossess another of their delusions and when to simply leave them alone. Reality, itself, takes people on the journey toward truth and away from delusion, sometimes patiently, sometimes cruelly. It is with great circumspection, then, that one might choose to accelerate this (super)natural process. And, indeed, sometimes we are thus called, particularly if we have been gifted the position of being a formative influence on others --- as pastors, parents, teachers, police ... ... friends. Iconoclasm is a morally neutral activity. The way it is engaged is not. And yet I wonder if we are modern-day alchemists, but of a more sophisticated variety. We turn reality into meaning and purpose…or try to. Spoken like a quintessential modern day existentialist. Well done! Of course, not all existentialists are created equal, some being nihilists, others Christians, others whatever. But you, Major Nelson, impress me as more of the Jacques Maritain flavor, which emphasizes distinctions, while being ever-vigilant about not elevating them all to dichotomies (although some are). For instance, do we give reality its meaning and purpose? Or, do we discover the meaning and purpose that is already there? Why should that be an either-or question? As co-creators and pro-creators, I suspect we do both a LOT of the latter and a little of the former? Whatever one's worldview, some type of faith is an integral aspect of any knowing that we do, this because of our finitude (and sin). We don't approach this part of reality with reason and that part through faith. We grasp all of reality through the lens of faith-grounded reason and experience-grounded faith, the latter having primacy but not enjoying autonomy. The word doubt is not from the realm of positivistic science, which uses the mathematical grammar of true and false, greater and less than and equals. It is from the realm of relationships, which use the grammar of trust. That is one of the characteristics of TOE's I forgot to list. They include a grammar of trust in addition to those employed by positivistic (mathematical) and philosophic (formal logic) realms. As Kung would say, one has a justified fundamental trust in uncertain reality or a nowhere-anchored, paradoxical trust in uncertain reality. I would maintain 1) that none of our attempts at justification can elude some form of paradox, 2) with Whitehead, that all metaphysics are fatally flawed. I simply further maintain that it is worthwhile, urgently necessary even, to pursue that TOE least pregnant with paradox, that least-morbid metaphysic. This must be done out of compassion for humankind, for differences in worldviews translates into differences in prescriptions (hence efficacies) for what ails us. And this must be done toward the end of AMDG, which speaks both to our origin and our destiny, inseparable as they are from our experience of the eternal now. Whether or not one makes sense, I suppose, sometimes, depends on their using proper grammar. In that regard, it is less paradoxical, in my view, to approach ultimate reality as if it were a personal relationship requiring the grammar of trust, which includes faith and doubt. Others can reliably and profitably practice their positivistic (re: facts) and philosophic (re: rules) life's activities without further attempting to justify their fundamental trust in the grounding of those aspects of uncertain reality, but most of humanity, down through millenia, finds such an approach neither satisfying nor compelling, not cognitively, not affectively, not morally, not socially and not religiously, which is to say that they find such a "spirituality" impoverished. That observation does not constitue a proof and is not meant to invoke the consensus gentium fallacy, but it does, in my view, provide an important clue, one worth pursuing as if one's very existence depended on it. There you have the essentially pragmatic justification for our supra- and trans- rational endeavors. Love, then, is our philosopher's stone. pax, amor et bonum jb 5X5X5 5 Aspects of Reality 1) being 2) truth 3) beauty 4) goodness 5) love 5 Areas of Concern with Reality 1) positivistic 2) philosophic 3) metaphysical 4) theistic 5) theotic 5 Approaches to Reality 1) non-rational 2) pre-rational 3) supra-rational 4) rational 5) trans-rational

5 Aspects X 5 Areas = 25 Engagements of Reality Positivistic - facts a) science b) arts & humanities c) law d) relationships e) mysticism

Philosophic - rules a) logic b) aesthetics c) ethics d) politics e) existentialism Metaphysical - theories of everything a) epistemological b) cosmological l c) axiological d) teleological e) ontological Theistic - theories of everything a) creed (doctrine, dogma) b) cult (ritual) c) code (law) d) community e) natural theology Theotic - human responses a) intellectual conversion b) affective conversion c) moral conversion d) social-political conversion e) religious conversion 25 Engagements X 5 Approaches = 125 Experiences of Reality (partly tongue-in-cheek, inasmuch as the thrust has been that our approach to reality is holistic, integrated, one.) The categories of a) aspects, b) areas of concern, c) approaches, d) engagements and e) experiences provide a heuristic device, a set of disciplinary pigeonholes. In those pigeonholes, one can place much of what has already been fleshed out by philosophers and theologians. Well, if someone accused you of substantialism or essentialism,

you might respond by saying you do not mean to imply that the soul is a separate and static reality with some type of platonistic or dualistic existence, but that your thomistic approach is influenced by an aristotelian perspective, which is more holistic. In other words, the body, soul and spirit not being separate entities but just different aspects of the same thing. Further, if your perspective was, for example, largely informed by Jim Arraj, you could point out that your take on form and formal causation is like CHAPTER 13: NONLOCALITY, MORPHIC RESONANCE, SYNCHRONICITY AND FORMAL CAUSALITY] which is to say: quote: Both science and a Thomist philosophy of nature are converging to give us another view of the universe. The old mechanistic view of a world in which innumerable separate objects occasionally interact is giving way to an ever deepening sense of the unity of the universe that has often been hidden from our view. The ultimate mystery of matter is the mystery of that unity. Whether it is Bohm talking about the quantum potential, or Sheldrake speaking of morphic fields and their resonance, or Jung pondering meaningful coincidences and acausal orderedness, or Thomas Aquinas on matter and form, we are faced with a much more cohesive and dynamic view of matter. The objects that fall under our senses are but the visible presences of much wider and deeper formal fields. Jim Arraj

The use of the term fields has the markings of some sympathy for the more dynamic, process approaches. Some actually combine their approaches and call them substance-process. Some argue that retaining the aristotelian concepts is unnecessary metaphysical baggage and move to pure process, employing metaphors of experience, for example, see Whitehead. However, going in the process direction too far exposes one to nominalism, which is quote: the doctrine that there is no objective meaning to the words we use — words and concepts don't pick out any actual objects or universal aspects of reality, they are simply conventional symbols or names that we happen to use for our own convenience. This flies too much in the face of our common sensical experience of reality, for instance, such an experience as communicating with one another as distinct, however social, entities. Reality becomes one unitary organism and our autonomous existence gets lost. The reality of the process of experience is overemphasized while the actual content is ignored. Nominalism creeps in especially in those process approaches that employ the dipolar concepts of reality we mentioned earlier. Without very high nuance, what some folks intend as panentheism becomes indistinguishable, for all practical purposes, from pantheism. So, the fact that any unnuanced essentialism or nominalism, the former often accompanying dualistic metaphysics, the latter, materialist monism, is going to run into various conundrums, introducing concepts that are mutually occlusive or incompatible or contradictory, has steered some folks away from both substance and process metaphysics. This is where the semiotic grammar I mentioned before comes in: quote: Following Charles S. Peirce, Gelpi proposes as a much more adequate model a triadic notion of experience. In this construct there are three "irreducible

variables": evaluations, which correspond to possibilities (Peirce's "firstness"); actions, which correspond to facts, to concreteness (Peirce's "secondness"); and tendencies, which correspond to habits or generalities, but not to universal essences (Peirce's "thirdness). In his book, Gelpi critiques several key theological movements on the basis of their faulty concepts of experience and the flaws these induce, and demonstrates how this triadic account provides the remedy.

In Review of The Gracing of Human Experience: Rethinking the Relationship Between Nature and Grace, except for the typos calling Gelpi --- Delpi, Patricia O'DONNELL SSJ goes into more depth re: Gelpi's approach. She has a distinctly johnboysianesque paragraph therein: quote: The book is divided into three major parts. The first part focuses on the fallacies that Gelpi is concerned to avoid: essentialism, dualism, nominalism, rationalism, and the extremes of optimism and pessimism. He finds these fallacies in the work of theologically influential thinkers of the past, including Plato, the Stoics, Aristotle, the Gnostics, the Jewish apocalyptics, Augustine, Aquinas, the Reformation theologians, Kant, Whitehead, and Schillebeeckx. At the root of all these fallacies is a priorism, which is unable to distinguish the formulation of an hypothesis from its verification. Gelpi proposes the relational, triadic, and social metaphysics of Charles Sanders Peirce as a way to escape this a priorism.

On one hand, these "charges" of "fallacies" would constitute a sweeping generalization if applied to all substance and process approaches because, as I pointed out earlier, these approaches are much more highly nuanced nowadays, for example, such as when Jim speaks of deep and dynamic formal "fields." OTOH, because when any substance, or process, or substance-process metaphor is extrapolated out, it will collapse, employing increasingly mutually unintelligble and thoroughly ambiguous terms for reality. For example, a lot of theodicy issues, in my view, come about from a lack of rigor in predicating the terms we use regarding the realities of God and creatures. Thomism approaches the problem this way: quote: Univocity of God language: it is possible to say the same thing in the same way about both God and the world Equivocity Equivocity of God language: there is no relation between the sense in which something is said of God and the same thing is said of the world Analogy of God language: what is said of God is analogous to what may be said of the world

That is all well and good but to the extent that our apophatic descriptions of what God is not begin to so distance the reality of God from creaturely reality, invoking the weakest of analogies in metaphorical language, there is a question left begging as to how a reality so dislike another reality in both form and substance (per the aristotelian-thomistic framework) can be causally linked or have any efficacious effect on same. The chain of causation is effectively broken; physical causal closure is violated or becomes unintelligible; our stipulations of God being some primal cause that really can have an effect even if we cannot say how based on classical notions of causality become mere tautologies; the conclusions that flow from them are necessary only by virtue of an a priori definition, which has a logical form but no empirical basis. So, there is much appeal for the semiotic approach insofar as it prescinds from the substance and process approaches and thus eludes their inescapable fallacies, such as causal disjunction, which I just discussed re: the former, such as the nominalism, which I discussed re: the latter. This approach avoids those fallacies by avoiding the conceptualizations employed in those metaphors. It resonates somewhat with what we might call nonenergetic causation of formal realities (the causal disjunction, violation of physical causal closure conundrum) by investing efficient causality of a sort in the objective reality of our concepts, thus avoiding nominalism. Ideas, neither physical nor nonphysical, are efficacious and clearly exhibit causation, as possibilities mediated by probabilities become actualities in terms of signs, symbols, syntax, semantics --- all which captures both meaning (content) and process. This is just a heuristic device, a grammar, to describe reality without claiming any a priori knowledge or exhaustive explanatory adequacy. In this way, it is sort of phenomenological, which is to say it sets forth patterns of what appears to be going on without necessarily grounding how those patterns come about or where all of these habits and probabilities we see reality exhibiting originate. This approach has great utility in quantum physics. The following is kind of dense, but in Benedict M. Ashley, O. P's review of Deely's 4 Ages of Understanding, perhaps one can sense this mutually occlusive, unintelligible dichotomy that substance and process metaphysics encounter in one another. Either we get the kantian, nominalist perspective that what we call causes are mental projections and the humean notion that causes are not empirically knowable or we get the inescapable dead-ends of thomism as all metaphysics is reduced to esse (being) and gets tangled in tautological obfuscation with the application of analogy to causation. In semiotics, some signs are mind-dependent and others mind-independent, indisputably so, and so we enjoy a distinction between what we might call the physical reality of actualities and the objective reality of ideas without worrying about the realism-idealism debate of the essentialists and nominalists. quote: What Peirce saw clearly, and Poinsot had in Scholastic terms anticipated, was the triadic relational nature of the sign. A sign is not simply something by mediation of which something else is known, a dyadic relation of sign and signified, but a triadic relation between first an object known A (the sign), another object known through the first object (the terminating object) C, and what Peirce called the "interpretant," that is, a third object of knowledge that is precisely the relation of signification between the first two objects, B. For example, a scientist observes that heavy objects fall (A) and infers that they have the property of gravity (C), because he understands this in terms of what in his scientific perspective he knows to be the logical relation of cause to effect (B). This critical or scientific understanding is possible only if the scientist does not confuse the logical relation of inference from effect to cause (which is purely mind-dependent) with the real dependence of effect on cause. If he does not make this distinction he falls either into Hume's empiricist notion that we do not know causal relations or Kant's idealist notion that this relation is a merely mental projection. One has only to look at current quantum theory to see into what puzzles such confusions have plunged modern science. As the Nobel Laureate in Physics Richard Feynman is often quoted as saying, "I think that I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics."

It can be argued that by prescinding from substance and process approaches, Pierce is withdrawing from metaphysics altogether, engaging strictly in philosophical phenomenology. See Is Peirce a Phenomenologist?: quote: there is something prima facie questionable in the idea of incorporating the Peircean philosophy in the phenomenological tradition, and should make it clear that a sceptical view of the appropriateness of doing this would not be unreasonable. Yet, in spite of this, I am inclined to believe that there is a real and sufficient basis for doing this nonetheless. Why? Because of the extraordinary importance which seems to me to attach to the proposition that the philosopher as such properly considers phenomena first of all without commitment to or concern with whatever existential or reality status they (or the objects to which they refer or otherwise signify or represent) may actually have, which means to consider phenomena as phenomenal only ...

So, I do not see the semiotic approach as a replacement for ontological approaches (substance and process) but only as a way to back up and review waht it is we are doing when we claim to be doing physics or metaphysics. quote:

Metaphysics has usually followed a very primitive kind of quest. You know how men have always hankered after unlawful magic, and you know what a great part in magic words have always played. If you have his name, or the formula of incantation that binds him, you can control the spirit, genie, afrite, or whatever the power may be. Solomon knew the names of all the spirits, and having their names, he held them subject to his will. So the universe has always appeared to the natural mind as a kind of enigma, of which the key must be sought in the shape of some illuminating or power-bringing word or name. [The traditional rationalistic temperament is for fixed foundations:] That word names the universe's principle, and to possess it is after a fashion to possess the universe itself. 'God,' 'Matter,' 'Reason,' 'the Absolute,' 'Energy ,' are so many solving names. You can rest when you have them. You are at the end of your metaphysical quest. But if you follow the pragmatic method, you cannot look on any such word as closing your quest. You must bring out of each word its practical cash-value, set it at work within the stream of your experience. It appears less as a solution, then, than as a program for more work, and more particularly as an indication of the ways in which existing realities may be changed. What Pragmatism Means

This is a type of pragmatism that does not suggest that, if something is useful, then it is true. It does suggest, however, that if something is true, one of its characteristics will be that it is also useful. So, we can employ usefulness as a criterion in our search for truth, which marches on inexorably, however fallibly. It is merely to ask: What difference will it make if this is true versus that? If there is no difference, pragmatism judges the argument as idle. This is also to say that, just because something is a tautology, it does not mean that it is not the case; it only means we have not added any new information by making our claim. Bottomline is that I have no problem with substance or process approaches, as long as they answer one another's legitimate critiques, as long as they both step back, which is to say, prescind from their metaphysical engagements to a critical phenomenological perspective, like the peircean semiotic grammar. Coming full circle back to original sin, we can prescind then from any notion of a felix culpa or of a wounded form to the root metaphor of a triadic, social relational experience to say that what it is --- is the effect of our finitude plus everyone else's (through all of time) personal sins on us and the effect of our personal sins and finitude on everyone/thing else. Now, whether it turns out that this effect is mediated by a wounded form, an ontological rupture located in the past, or by an unfinished creative process, a teleological chasm oriented toward closure in the future, the former a substance approach, the latter a process approach, or by both, phenomenologically speaking, we no this finitude and our personal sins make a difference and change reality, whatever our root metaphor may be. The doctrine of original sin is rooted in an issue of theodicy: why do we have all of these idealistic notions but never realize them? Where could they have come from in the first place? Why would God create us and then torture us for a nanosecond if SH/e is truth, beauty, goodness, love? Why do we not seem to be injured in knowing what is good to do but are profoundly injured in liking what it is that is good to do (to paraphrase someone re: original sin, like Pascal, but I forget really)? I locate the most significant aspect of any answer, not in locating the rupture between our essentialistic idealizations and their existential realizations but rather in our failure to carefully define, rigorously predicate and highly nuance the terms and definitions we use in our God-concepts. In other words, which concepts are employed with univocity, equivocity or analogically, kataphatically or apophatically? And does this or that element of our metanarrative communicate an historical vs allegorical (creedal) vs moral vs anagogical (orienting our hope) truth, metaphorically or literally? When we say God is good, we really mean: "You know what I mean when I say something is good or someone is good? Well, God is good, but not good in exactly the same way or by exactly the same means, but think of something like that and that is what He is. He is something like that but in many more other ways, at the same time, She is totally and thoroughly and unambiguously UNLIKE that or anything else you have ever or will ever experience." And substitute truth, beauty and love for the word "good" above --- or even "being" or even "cause" and that is what a suitable defintion, rigorous predication and highly nuanced conceptualization of God entails. Our analogies make God intelligible and metaphysics a worthwhile endeavor, although many dispute the truth of natural theology. Nothing we will ever devise in the way of a metaphysic will make God, or even the whole of created reality, fully comprehensible. They are, rather, merely apprehensible. Disambiguate the terms employed in our metaphysics and -- voila --- our theodicy issues get framed up as an unfathomable mystery, part of the incomprehensible Mystery of God. We find it worthwhile to pursue their intelligibility, however. Thus we come up with such ideas as original sin. And these ideas compete with one another for intelligibility, congruence with our life experience and external reality, rationality, internal coherence, logical consistency, hypothetical consonance with the rest of our worldview, etc A lot of people have big problems with any idea of The Fall and I can understand why. I'm not even sure I'd bother too much, myself, with theories of original sin, because once we properly disambiguate the terms we employ for God vs creatures, perhaps we can rest a little and know that all may be well, all can be well, all will be well and we will know that all manner of things shall be well --- not because we have already eaten the whole banana (ahem, apple) but, rather, we have received first fruits, an earnest, a down payment -- and we're willing to leverage it, unconditionally, in support of the notion that God cares (not like we care but different and way better) and the universe is ultimately friendly, even if no one can say how this could possibly be, given so many appearances to the contrary. It is good that the theologians bother with all of this though because what Charles Pierce called the cash-value of our ideas; for our theological anthropology does make a difference in how we respond to reality and one another. Still, that anthropology is only as good as our theology and God-talk is incredibly messy, ambiguous, unnuanced in most discussions. For general info: A footnote regarding terminology like coherent, congruent, etc When we use these terms, they typically refer to: 1) logical consistency - is an argument fallacy free with terms that are not self-contradictory 2) internal coherence - does everything hold together as we move from one aspect of a position to another 3) interdisciplnary consilience - as we move from one discipline of science, incl theology, to another, do the ideas expressed in a position comfortably dovetail and are we using as many disciplines as possible 4) hypothetical consonance - how does this hypothesis comport with other prevailing hypotheses about similar subject matter 5) external congruence - specifically asks whether or not the positivistic facts incorporated into our metaphysical and theological hypotheses are congruent with what we know from science These are just a few of the criteria one uses before applying what used to be known as the scholastic notations. In the margin of a seminarian's notes, one was encouraged to engage some critical thinking and note whether or not a proposition was: 1) possible 2) plausible 3) probable 4) certain 5) uncertain

6) implausible 7) improbable 8) impossible Since the positivistic-scientific realm cannot yield data, in principle, that would be contrary to revelation, over the centuries, as science advanced, many doctrines have been forced to divest themselves of positivistic elements and to jettison philosophic-metaphysical baggage that was not part of essential revelation. The thornier the scientific problem, of course, the more latitude for wide-ranging speculation of how physical and physiological facts might impact one doctrine or another. Nothing is more integrally related to discussions of human nature than the emergence of consciousness. Since this science is still very new, many philosophies of mind exist, none of which could impact theological speculation, in and of themselves. We do see a lot of folks drawing philosophic and metaphysical and theological conclusions from scientific data and hypotheses, but they are not being scientists when they do this. They are being philosophers, metaphysicians and theologians -- and, too often, not very good ones. What Phil and I have both been decrying is the wily-nily crossing over of these human realms of concern by many scientists, philosophers and theologians without these folks explicitly acknowledging what they are doing, betraying, nonetheless, to anyone paying attention, their own prejuidices and a priori commitments. This is not to suggest that one might not otherwise appear (or in fact) be consistent and coherent and consilient and consonant in their hypothesizing without, at the same time, being adequately externally congruent. Happens all the time. Neither is it to suggest that all external congruence is of the same quality. We have an audience out there of people of very large intelligence and profound goodwill, with no a priori bias toward one metaphysic or another, and they are looking at the facts we use about human consciousness (which however young the science, we do know something about from neuroscience and evolution, fossil records, genome mapping, etc) and they are deliberating over competing accounts looking not just for the possible, but for the plausible, and, one day, as knowledge grows in any given area, the probable and even the certain. In other words, we are closing in, always, just not always as fast as we'd like or as some might think, who have already rushed to closure. When we do, the science will not change anything essentially theological or vice versa. If it appears to, it is only because someone was calling something revelation that was not. All in all, it is better to keep God/de out of physical and metaphysical gaps from the get-go, in principle. I develop 14 points below. I begin with #14 and substantiate it in #1 thru #13. pax, johnboy 14) Finally, all of this is to support the proposition that the Anglican and Roman Catholic communities are substantively in communion. Many of the roots of our divisions are philosophical and metaphysical. That's where many of our divisions lie intra-denominationally, too. How can that be? Theology is what we canonize and sanction, not metaphysics and philosophy. This makes the scandal all the more poignantly sad. I mean to flesh out these individual divisions through time and to more precisely locate each impasse but the most obvious and tragic culprits seem to be rooted ontologically. For instance, once in accord over the Real Presence in the Eucharist, how can discord regarding transubstantiation be a legitimate stumbling block? Isn't that an accidental vestige of a substance ontology? When was this metaphysic canonized? What about process and semiotic and other approaches? And what's the apologetic against women's ordination but another physicalistic ontological analysis, just like other narrowly conceived natural law formulations regarding birth control, homosexuality and such? As for priestly celibacy, the over against position is so riddled with practical inconsistencies that metaphysical jesuitry is obviated. Even the issues of primacy and authority are rooted in a neoplatonic commitment to hierarchical schemes, not that our episcopal nature is an issue, only to suggest that we needn't be married to only one positivistic model of governance; this is true at least insofar as the behavioral and political sciences have much to recommend in the way of democracies and republics, at least where tribalism has given way to cultural melting pots and pluralistic societies. As for any brand of infallibility, what would be the metaphysical grounds for that in a peircean semiotic realism whose leitmotif is fallibilism? And what happens to the doctrine of the fall as the source of original sin if one drops one's aristotelian formulations for a process metaphysic, such that an ontological rupture located in the past becomes a teleological chasm oriented toward the future? 1) It is important to distinguish between the different horizons of human knowledge: a) positivistic b) philosophic c) metaphysical d) theistic e) theotic 2) It is important to distinguish which elements of tradition are rooted in which of these horizons. 3) It is important to discern which elements in which horizons are essential and indispensable, which might be to ask, which belong to Revelation and are closest to the community's experience of Gospel realities, and which are accidental, which might be to suggest, which are re-form-able. 4) This discernment process does not reduce the experience of the community to the essentialistic; it will always be existentially and concretely expressed through humanity's metaphysical, philosophic and positivistic forms. This process, rather, aspires to bring these forms into our community's awareness so we can consciously select forms, models and paradigms that, when employed, will best facilitate the existential realizations of our essentialistic idealizations. The provenance of these forms is not always easy to determine, because these horizons both overlap as well as enjoy their own diversity of forms within each horizon. 5) The community's historical and eschatological dimensions require these forms to change. The community's cultural diversity requires a pluralistic approach to form-selection. In principle, then, forms must be dynamic. 6) Each horizon of human knowledge has its own questions to ask of reality, which is to say its own distinct methods and principles of inquiry. As one expands one's knowledge horizons, new and different questions are being asked and novel methods and principles of inquiry apply. Our community of believers does not sanction the employment of one approach versus another insofar as the communities of inquiry within each horizon, in principle, proceed autonomously in their approach to reality. 7) Proceeding through the horizons, from the positivistic to the theotic, the scope of our inquiries expands. Successive expanded horizons do not, however, inform the previous and more limited-scope horizons vis a vis their methods, principles or previously-acquired knowledge. It is not so much that they neither contradict nor affirm them as much as they ignore them, in a manner of speaking, dealing with broader concerns. These successive expanded horizons are in fact constrained by the more limited-scope horizons such that when they do employ their findings they are not at liberty to addend, amend or delete them during the process of incorporating them into this or that meta-paradigm. 8) How, then, can we reconcile theological inquiry, both theistic and theotic, to positivistic, philosophic and metaphysical inquiry, which is to ask how can faith enjoy epistemological primacy while making no demands of the other horizons of human knowledge? It cannot. At the very least, different types of realism must be presupposed, but that is true for science, too. 9) How far can a rational discursive exploration take us prior to the fruits of special revelation? Well, by analogy, there is a faith we necessarily have in

certain first principles, in reality's intelligibility and humankind's intelligence, which is epistemologically prior to what we more narrowly define as rational inquiry. These principles do not formally prove or disprove rationality and no rational argumentation can prove or disprove them. Theology, metaphysics, philosophy and science enjoy the same autonomy and rely on similar pre-philosophical suppositions. 10) The novelty that theology does bring to the table is not essentially descriptive or even prescriptive, however integrally related to those sciences. Theology contributes an evaluative perspective that colors all of cosmic and human history with ultimate purpose and meaning. This is not to suggest that the theological horizon expands the other horizons of human knowledge by introducing purpose and meaning for the first time. It is not even to suggest, practically speaking, that we could ever exhaust the realizable purpose and meaning that we might have previously encountered in the pre-theological horizons. It is to affirm, theoretically speaking and in principle, that such realizable meaning and purpose is horizonless, transcends all horizons and is forever inexhaustible. 11) Catholic theology, then, will introduce an evaluative perspective that is robustly Incarnational, affirming a) a divinity kenotically being secularized, b) a creation pro-actively being divinized and c) a theological anthropology that situates all noetical, aesthetical and ethical pursuits in the creed, cult and code of a community of unconditional faith, hope and love. There is no formal demonstration or rational argumentation that can provide such suppositions but, however otherwise apparently polynomial, the human approach to Truth, Beauty, Goodness and Love is now integrally and holistically one journey. 12) There is no question of whether or not one can go from the given to the normative, the descriptive to the prescriptive, or, as they say, from is to ought. Truth guides our pursuits of beauty and goodness. Beauty guides our quests for truth and goodness. Goodness is a beacon for truth and beauty. Noetically, then, we can turn to virtue epistemology, nonfoundational and foundational approaches in modeling truth. Aesthetically, we can experience both man-made and natural art cognitively, affectively and morally, as it depicts truth and beauty and goodness. Ethically, we can turn to virtue ethics, deontology and teleology, to the natural law and the positivistic, as they all properly inform our thoughts, words and deeds as we analyze the acts, intentions and circumstances of moral objects. 13) And we can look to the history of our community of believers and our community of inquiry with some confidence as we affrim this evaluative heremeneutic. With these epistemological pre-suppositions, we commence our positivistic, philosophic, metaphysical and theological journeys. Implicit to an incarnational outlook, there is a group of premises that must be granted, but they are not so cumbersome as to impede our journeys toward the various horizons of human knowledge. If anything, the history of science attests to their manifold and multiform efficacies in advancing the inexorable advance of human knowledge (cf. Stanley Jaki). Among these premises are the essential dogmas, an analogical imagination, present and eschatological dimensions, principles of subsidiarity and solidarity, the common good, unconditional human dignity, an incarnational perspective, catholicity and pluralism, kenosis, theosis and various realisms: metaphysical, moral and political, pastoral sensitivity and compassion for human finitude & sin, justification and sanctification and such. This doesn't exhaust our pre-positivistic, pre-philosophic, pre-metaphysical, pre-theological core suppositional commitments but it wouldn't take anything near the length of the typical catechism to set forth this inventory of essentials sans accidentals. 14) Finally, all of this is to support the proposition that the Anglican and Roman Catholic communities are substantively in communion. Many of the roots of our divisions are philosophical and metaphysical. That's where many of our divisions lie intra-denominationally, too. How can that be? Theology is what we canonize and sanction, not metaphysics and philosophy. This makes the scandal all the more poignantly sad. I mean to flesh out these individual divisions through time and to more precisely locate each impasse but the most obvious and tragic culprits seem to be rooted ontologically. For instance, once in accord over the Real Presence in the Eucharist, how can discord regarding transubstantiation be a legitimate stumbling block? Isn't that an accidental vestige of a substance ontology? When was this metaphysic canonized? What about process and semiotic and other approaches? And what's the apologetic against women's ordination but another physicalistic ontological analysis, just like other narrowly conceived natural law formulations regarding birth control, homosexuality and such? As for priestly celibacy, the over against position is so riddled with practical inconsistencies that metaphysical jesuitry is obviated. Even the issues of primacy and authority are rooted in a neoplatonic commitment to hierarchical schemes, not that our episcopal nature is an issue, only to suggest that we needn't be married to only one positivistic model of governance; at least insofar as the behavioral and political sciences have much to recommend in the way of democracies and republics, at least where tribalism has given way to cultural melting pots and pluralistic societies. As for any brand of infallibility, what would be the metaphysical grounds for that in a peircean semiotic realism whose leitmotif is fallibilism? And what happens to the doctrine of the fall as the source of original sin if one drops one's aristotelian formulations for a process metaphysic, such that an ontological rupture located in the past becomes a teleological chasm oriented toward the future? Still refining: I would like to distinguish between the various aspects of human engagement with reality and the different foci of human concern with reality. The aspects of human engagement are: 1) cognitive approach to truth 2) affective approach to beauty 3) moral approach to goodness 4) social approach to love 5) religious approach to the sacred The foci of concern or horizons of engagement are: 1) positivistic - our concern with facts 2) philosophic - our concern with rules 3) meta-theoretical - our concern with facts and rules taken together as a Theory of Everything 4) transcendental - our concern with discontinuities 5) human responsivity - our ongoing cognitive, affective, moral, social and religious growth processes I describe these foci as horizons because they represent progressively expansive realms of concern, each with its own distinct questions of reality, each with its own distinct principles and methods of inquiry. As one expands one's horizons of engagement, new and different questions are being asked of reality such that novel principles and methods of inquiry apply. Each successive expanded horizon is constrained by the more limited-scope horizons, which is to suggest that,, when they do employ the findings of any and all of the preceding horizons, they are not at liberty to addend, amend or delete such findings when incorporating them into such expanded horizons or broadened foci of concern. I should qualify that they cannot take such liberties and still maintain such widely accepted knowledge criteria as external congruence, hypothetical consonance, interdisciplinary consilience, logical consistency and internal coherence, to name a few. The application of the different aspects of human engagement to our various foci of concern then yield an architectonic or organon of 25 different fields of engagement of reality: Positivistic a) science b) arts & humanities c) law d) relationships e) religiosity Philosophic a) noetics - logic b) aesthetics c) ethics

d) politics e) existentialism Meta-theoretical a) epistemological b) cosmological c) axiological d) teleological e) ontological Transcendental a) truth b) beauty c) goodness d) love e) sacred Human Responsivity a) intellectual conversion b) affective conversion c) moral conversion d) socio-political conversion e) religious conversion And I see this not simply as a prescription but also as a description of how our species holistically engages reality. re: emergentism, in general, and semiotics, in particular. I view them as heuristic devices and situate them in the positivistic focus, somewhat straddling the philosophic horizon with a phenomenological-type approach, abstracted, so to speak, from our more reductive explanatory endeavors. As with any of the more reductive positivistic hypothesis, the nonreductive emergentist and semiotic perspectives provide forms, structures, models, paradigms and such, that can be used to concretely express any of humankind's worldviews, including any and all of our transcendental, meta-theoretical and philosophic horizons of engagement with reality. Now, it is precisely because of the novelty that arises on the borders of chaos in the form of dissipative structures that all meta-theorists are confronted with the issue of renormalization. The manifold discontinuities birthed from emergence at play in the cosmos make for some radically distinctive levels of complexity, each with its own logic and conceptual frame, none fully reducible to or translatable from adjacent levels of complexity. Still, I am all for zealously pursuing Theories of Everything, recognizing that intertranslatability between our different theories will remain a formidable challenge for quite some time; take quantum gravity, for example. It does seem, to me, that the greatest promise for resolving such emergence-engendered translatability problems for our meta-theoretical endeavors lies in the grammar of semiotics. If emergence invites us to continue our reductive explanatory attempts while stepping back, now and again, from what Terry has well-identified as genetic, memetic and computational fallacies, for example, in the philosophy of mind, semiotic realism invites us to continue our pluralistic philosophic and meta-theoretical explanatory attempts while stepping back, now and again, from their ever-cascading paradoxes and always-collapsing metaphors. And all are on equal footing, or lack thereof, insofar as our philosophical schools are yet to escape the implosions of tautology, circularreferentiality, causal disjunction and/or infinite regress in their formalizations. We all choose the poison that will slay our meta-systems, for they're all pregnant with paradox and fatally flawed. Our search is for the system least likely to multiple birth and least morbid. Our choice, then, largely guided by aesthetic sensibilities and pragmatic rationalities. The emergentist paradigm and semiotic grammar, though, as mere heuristic devices, largely avoid the fray, but sacrifice explanatory adequacy in favor of discerning patterns phenomenologically. Staying above the philosophical fray is their gift though because not much, quite frankly, is being sacrificed at this very early stage in humankind's formal meta-theorizing. The more pressing and urgent need is to articulate Everybody's Story, so we can begin to sing off the same sheet of music and quit shooting at each other with WMDs, real or imagined. There is a leit motif running through the semiotic perspective that can best be described simply as fallibilism. In some sense, the semiotic dynamic very much seems to be about right signals, wrong signals, missed signals and such and this applies to all semiotic realities. However, I do not like the ambiguity generated by thinking in terms of right and wrong signification because, well, such is relative, perspectival, from an emergentist perspective. After reading another, yet unpublished, semiotic account, which addressed what I would call a bridge-building from the physico- to the bio-semiotic, it has now dawned on me that the fallibilistic dynamic might best be described in terms of integrity. What we have, then, is a triadic semiotic dynamic of ongoing semiotic integration, dis-integration and re-integration. These integrative structures obey the laws of entropy with their thermo- and morpho-dynamic integrative processes. And, as you noted, these complementary dynamics have an amplifying effect on successive biases. Such amplification will even accelerate in environments that are far from equilibirum. One thing that ends up getting accelerated, despite superficial appearances to the contrary, is entropy itself. Once the teleo-dynamic process emerges, the triadic semiotic dynamic generates dissipative semiotic structures at an ever-accelerating pace, creative advance taking place, per the whiteheadian trope, only along the borders of chaos. Now, I cannot not digress here to insert the aesthetic "teleodynamic" that I gathered long ago from such writers as Prigogine. The greater the number of bifurcations in an emergent and dissipative semiotic structure, which is to say, the greater the number of integrative permutations, the greater, then, will be the number of disintegrative points available to threaten the system. But "threaten" has that "right" and "wrong" connotation, which I am trying to avoid, so I'd like to say the greater will be the number of disintegrative points available to drive the triadic dynamic of alternating integration, disintegration and reintegration. What we are describing here, of course, is an attribute of our system known as fragility. And what I am driving at is the aesthetic notion of the more fragile, the more beautiful. Not a novel approach except to suggest that this is pervasively true in a semiotic system. Our aesthetic sensibilities seem wired for this affective predisposition, no doubt because we sit atop the emergent semiotic heirarchy with both a lot of precious encoding and a lot of biosemiotic existence hanging in an increasingly precarious balance with less and less room for ecomoralistic error. True to form vis a vis nonquilibrium thermodynamics, this rapid multiplication of dissipative semiotic structures, now agents, not only amplifies preceding biases and serves entropic processes, but serves to accelerate entropy itself. Locally, we might note that we are clearly hastening and not rather forestalling the heat death of our universe, primarily through our avarice for energy consumption. Forget, then, the facile accounts of selfish genes and memes and their attendant fallacies. It is entropy itself, through complementary thermo- , morphoand teleo-dynamic processes, that is being encoded, in a spiraling dance of integrative, disintegrative and reintegrative semiotic structures, all amplifying the ineradicable, it seems, entropic bias and fueled by nonequilibrium conditions. Back to fallibilism. It's the engine of semiotic integrative dynamics. How can it not be a part of any compelling epistemology? At this point, I am not prescriptively urging any moves but only trying to come to grips with a descriptive account of what seems to be taking place however incohate or nuanced, however implicit or explicit, however articulated or not. Although each expansion of horizon represents new questions being asked of reality, clearly, not all people devote the same amount of energy engaging this vs that focus of concern, however conscious or unawares. We cannot gain explanatory adequacy by prescinding from our more reductive explanatory foci only to remain in a purely phenomenological perspective.

But we must continue to take this step back, as a friend once put it, looking over our shoulders at our leaps. And it is a discipline we need to engage always. The real impetus, for some, in going pansemiotic is the drive to articulate a more compelling ecomorality, driving out the spectre of an unnuanced anthropocentrism. It is a challenge to achieve balance here, however. I view religion as a cultural entity, grounded in metanarratives celebrating that-things-are and which-things-matter, while sketchily indicating how whichthings-matter emerge. The dynamic described below can thus be further qualified in terms of the descriptive, prescriptive and evaluative: The foci of concern or horizons of engagement are: 1) positivistic - our concern with facts descriptive 2) philosophic - our concern with rules prescriptive 3) meta-theoretical - our concern with facts and rules taken together as a Theory of Everything descriptive & prescriptive 4) transcendental - our concern with discontinuities evaluative 5) human responsivity - our ongoing cognitive, affective, moral, social and religious growth processes interactive The interpretive sphere and its questions are located in the transcendental-evaluative foucs of human concern beyond the horizons of the positivistic, philosophic and meta-theoretical, beyond the descriptive and prescriptive. This transcendental-evaluative-interpretive sphere influences our narrower foci of concern via human pragmatic rationality (sometimes called evolutionary, ecological or bounded rationality) and basically answers the organismic question: "What's it to ya?". This pragmatic rationality is distinct from the inferential and deliberative rationalities that operate in our narrower foci, within more limited horizons. [Note: This is not to wholesale endorse Tillich's view re: religion as merely evaluative. I actually disagree with that. In whatever realm of concern, the human knowledge manifold or evaluative continuum (Gelpi) is wholly and holistically employed - nonrational, pre-rational, supra-rational, rational and trans-rational, descriptively, prescriptively and evaluatively. Sometimes the nature of the reality under consideration calls forth one rationality or another for a "moment" and such rationality may even enjoy a primacy of sorts. Any such primacy notwithstanding, these respective rationalities do not enjoy autonomy one from the other. Rather, they are all brought to bear in all human engagements of reality, however inchoately or robustly. So, to be precise, we do not locate what is religious vs what is scientific in this vs that mode of human knowledge but rather in this versus that realm of human concern.] The provenance of moral and ethical deliberations is philosophic and the operative mode is prescriptive. Religions turn our positivistic and philosophic foci to which-things-matter and urge a prioritization of our moral and ethical deliberations, in terms of ordinacy, evaluating which-things-matter-most. This prioritization gifts humankind with what we might call general moral precepts. In large measure, we enjoy interreligious and interideological consensus re: general moral precepts. The practical upshot or peircean cash-value of all this? Religions, with their evaluative focus, do not ask specific moral and ethical questions and do not have principles and methods of inquiry to answer these philosophical questions. Neither do they ask nor are they equipped to answer positivistic questions, including the meta-theoretical. This is not to suggest that the evaluative moment, which enjoys a sort of epistemological primacy over our descriptive and prescriptive moments, makes no demands on these other horizons of human inquiry. Religions and ideologies do provide (or admit) some very basic premises, some core suppositional commitments, some essential pre-positivistic and pre-philosophic essentials, that must be granted in order to enjoy some integrity but these are not so cumbersome that they could impede the inexorable advance of knowledge of our larger community of inquiry. For example, as with science, there must be a commitment to certain types of realism. Also, there is a certain type of faith that we have in first principles (e.g. noncontradiction), reality's intelligibility, human intelligence, the existence of other minds, common sense notions of causality and such, and that faith is epistemologically prior to what we more narrowly describe as rational inquiry. Pragmatically, faith that impedes rather than enhances rational inquiry might be considered to have over-reached descriptively and prescriptively. It is not so much that if it is useful it is probably true; rather, it is that if it is true it is probably useful. Bottomline: Insofar as they are essentially evaluative, religions cannot credibly invoke a superior moral authority because they do not possess a privileged positivistic or philosophic perspective, the horizons where moral deliberations emerge. This is not to suggest a religion cannot affirm, along with its other realisms, a moral realism. Those that subscribe to moral realism must simply recognize the problematic nature of moral deliberation (beyond the most general of precepts) and recognize the fallibilistic nature of all human inquiry. Moral deliberation is something all communities of believers can contribute to within the context of our wider community of inquiry. And our cultural diversity requires a pluralistic approach, analogous to the way all complexity invites a pluralistic approach due to intractably nontranslatable paradigms. For me, there are several distinctions between the first (positivistic) and second (philosophic) categories, between the facts about reality and the rules. Keeping it simple, let's deal only with the "aspect" I've labeled "truth." I. The first category includes our understandings of reality's givens in terms of a) primitives - like space, time, mass and energy; b) forces - like gravity, electromagnetism, weak and strong; and c) laws - like thermodynamics. We proceed through popperian falsification. We employ our inferential and deliberative rationalities, inferences including deduction, induction and abduction. We look for patterns and search for symmetries and asymmetries. We proceed empirically and record our experiences. We test hypotheses and use the scientific method. II. The second category represents our rules, abstractions really. It is the realm of mathematics and of formal logic. It is where we agree upon general conventions regarding our definitions, our premises and how to proceed, fallacy-free, toward a compelling conclusion. This is the sphere where we formalize our inferences, both inductive and deductive, and propose our hypotheses (the abductive). Here we muse about using the axioms of nonEuclidean geometry to improve our descriptions and predictions about space and time. Or, we may employ imaginary number systems to facilitate our conceptualizations regarding the putative spatialization of time and/or temporalization of space, conditions which may describe the earliest moments near the Big Bang. We might develop Bohm and Copenhagen interpretations of quantum mechanics and even use a semiotic grammar to predict missing quarks. III. The third category is another category, level even, of abstraction. It involves meta-theorizing. Because we now employ Euclidean geometry and then nonEuclidean, or now employ calculus and then fuzzy logic, or now employ a Copenhagen interpretation and then M-theory or String theory or semiotic grammar, now look at wave descriptions and then particle descriptions --- all of these theories must be translated and renormalized and their terms disambiguated such that their logics and formal rules are not incompatible, mutually occlusive, mutually unintelligible, and so on. Staying with the third category -- we look at the formidable task ahead and wipe our brows. Nevertheless, epistemological optimists that we are, we roll up our sleeves, go to our mainframe computers and begin to work on a gigantic spreadsheet. We finally renormalize our manifold theories and they are no longer multiform! We describe our givens: our primitives, forces and laws and we choose our formal axioms. We call our new meta-framework the The Non-Euclidean Fuzzy Semiotic of Copenhagen and it includes our definitions of terms, our premises and formal logico-mathematical axioms. We sit down at the keyboard and begin to input this formula into a single spreadsheet cell. What happens? Well, it's happened to most of us more than a few times already, so we wouldn't be on totally unfamiliar cyberground. One types in the cell contents and hits "enter" and the spreadsheet insults us: Error - you have entered a circular reference. There are a lot of ways to do this -- either straight out or derivatively, but the simple error usually occurs when one has included a reference, not only to other cells in one's formula, but also to the cell into which the formula is being typed. No problem. We change the algorithm to separate our chosen axioms from the rest of our calculation and set up a separate "proof" or math formula or logical argument for those axioms. Darn! Get the same circular reference error. Won't happen again. We place a sticky note on our monitor to remind ourselves to always keep the proofs of our axioms separate from their employment and we write a program to abstract these algorithmically so we don't have to type them all in but can simply hit "Enter" and let the machine generate the other cell contents. A few hours, days, week,

months or even years later, the computer is still executing the algorithm: Infinite Loop Error. Cripes! One cannot, in principle, formally construct a closed meta-theory. Consistent accounts always end up incomplete. Complete accounts, inconsistent. Should have consulted Godel's Theorems. Could have saved some time. We muse. One cannot go the formal, algorithmic route to prove one's meta-theory because one cannot formally prove the axioms of one's system within the system itself. Proof may elude us but, for all practical purposes, we know a LOT of stuff we do not bother to formally prove -- indeed, most of what we claim to "know". I'll just proceed informally, and, at least in part, nonalgorithmically. I'll devise a narrative account and describe my system and tell its story in a way that one can grasp its significance and its truth value. That way I can transcend the discontinuities encountered at the meta-theoretical level. IV. Enter the transcendental focus and the meta-narrative, our attempts to tell Everything's Story. V. And we respond to all of this, variously. Our analyses will generally attempt some formalization, discerning the implicit presuppositions, suppositions and assumptions of competing metanarratives (and no one has a description of reality that aspires to explanatory adequacy without encountering the above-dynamics). Paradox infects them all in the form of formal fallacies, even if only by analogy. Some accounts are question begging. Some embed their conclusions in their premises and definitions and suffer circular referentiality. Some suffer an infinite regress. Some stop an infinite regress and inject, instead, a causal disjunction. Many offer an ipse dixit, a stipulated beginning. The deal is this: Just because an argument is tautological does not mean that it is not in fact true. It does mean, though, that no new information has been added to what we already know. This is my account of Everybody's Stories. What we need, then, is a consensus on what constitutes virtue -- in this case, epistemic virtue, once agreeing on the constraints, if that is possible. A pretty neat resource, though not very indepth, is The Ism Book, which is in the public domain. It can help anyone really interested in doing metaphysics. That would be one way of delving deeper into same because, often, the suffix -ism, is added to metaphysical or philosophical terminology to describe a competitor's ideas with pejorative force. I have found that it is the clash of ideas in the open marketplace that has best instructed me (even while the clash of personalities presenting those ideas has most disillusioned me). One can get a deeper understanding of one's own position by deeply engaging another's, or by, sometimes, using it as a foil to illustrate one's points and counterpoints. So, what I am talking about involves issues of both style and content, form and substance (to be aristotelian ). There are several dynamics I have seen over the years re: philosophy and metaphysics. One is how adherents of different schools of thought get so riled up, use so much perjorative force and get so defensive when interacting with their competing ideas. Another is how so many folks outright dismiss metaphysics as a silly parlour game, at best, as downright dangerous, at its worst. But let me address the first issue. An online magazine I really enjoy, is First Things, and its contributors are first class. In this article, Original Sin: A Disputation, one can get exposed to many of the same substantive issues Phil has discussed, as well as those presented in more depth at the link to Jim Arraj's thoughts. So, I'm going to use it as an example to illustrate an approach to, let me call it, scholarly civility, or maybe, the art, or even etiquette, of disputation. That it has to do with the idea of original sin is incidental in that regard, a bonus, so to speak. Edward T. Oakes writes: quote: In this situation of widespread denial, perplexity, or negligence [regarding original sin], I thought the best defense of the doctrine could be mounted if it were presented as a typical article in Thomas Aquinas’ monumental Summa Theologiae. In this work Thomas would begin each treatment of a so-called "disputed question" with a fair-minded exposition of the position he wanted to refute in the latter half of the article. This is the famous Videtur quod section of the argument, which is usually translated as: "It would seem that [such-and-such a doctrine] is not the case." What makes this opening portion of each article so remarkable is Thomas’ generosity and fairness to his opponents. Aquinas is the ideal model here, for, as some commentators have noted, he at times seems to present a better argument for his opponents’ positions than they themselves managed to do. Josef Pieper, for example, in his Guide to Thomas Aquinas, notes how Thomas’ fairness to his opponents can sometimes catch the reader off guard: An unsuspecting reader, rather stunned and confused, may read whole pages containing nothing but opposing arguments formulated in a highly convincing manner. There will be nothing at all in the phraseology to indicate that Thomas rejects these arguments—not the trace of a hint at the weakness of the argument, not the slightest nuance of ironical exaggeration. The opponent himself speaks, and an opponent who is obviously in splendid form, calm, objective, moderate. . . . In this procedure there emerges an element profoundly characteristic of St. Thomas’ intellectual style: the spirit of the disputatio, of disciplined opposition; the spirit of genuine discussion which remains a dialogue even while it is a dispute.

So, in this Videtur quod section of any argument, translated as: "It would seem that [such-and-such a doctrine] is not the case," what we really have is someone acknowledging up-front that one's position might seem paradoxical, counterintuitive, seemingly indefensible or what have ya. It is kind of like saying: "I can see why one might think that ..." and then going on to say why "I would think that, too, except for ..." Aquinas was not only pretty smart. He was pretty cool.Contemplation as the Epistemic Virtue click here for a Mapping of these Ideas

http://thinkingchristian.net/C228303755/E20051231072157/
Below are my comments on an article by Barbara Forrest, "Methodological Naturalism and Philosophical Naturalism: Clarifying the Connection," which was published in Philo, Vol. 3, No. 2 (Fall-Winter 2000), pp. 7-29. 1) An attack is currently being waged in the U.S. against both methodological naturalism and philosophical naturalism. The charge is that methodological naturalism, by excluding a priori the use of supernatural agency as an explanatory principle in science, therefore requires the a priori adoption of a naturalistic metaphysics. --- In my view, this is a fair assessment... There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding surrounding the relationship between science, philosophy, metaphysics and religion. There is a lot of good dialogue among professional scientists, philosophers and theologians. There is also some incivility with charges and countercharges of intellectual dishonesty, some of these charges apparently validated in a recent court ruling regarding intelligent design. 2) The aim of this paper is to examine the question of whether methodological naturalism entails philosophical naturalism. This is a fundamentally important question; depending on the answer, religion in the traditional sense--as belief in a supernatural entity and/or a transcendent dimension of reality--becomes either epistemologically justifiable or unjustifiable. --- I appreciate this approach for two reaaasons. First, the author draws a distinction between a supernatural entity and a

transcendental dimension of reality. This recognizes the logical possibility of a deity in the traditional religious sense but also of such possibilities as arise in theoretical physics, for instance, M-Theory, the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics, string landscapes, parallel universes, and other multiverse-type theories. Second, approaching such matters from the perspective of epistemological justification is very useful because it is basic enough to prevent a talking past other perspectives in dialogue. 3) My conclusion is that the relationship between methodological naturalism and philosophical naturalism, although not that of logical entailment, is not such that philosophical naturalism is a mere logical possibility, whereas, given the proven reliability of methodological naturalism in yielding knowledge of the natural world and the unavailability of any method at all for knowing the supernatural, supernaturalism is little more than a logical possibility. Philosophical naturalism is emphatically not an arbitrary philosophical preference, but rather the only reasonable metaphysical conclusion--if by reasonable one means both empirically grounded and logically coherent. --- Here the author speaks clearly. First,,, logical entailment is rejected. Then, logical possibility is set forth as necessary but not sufficient. Other criteria of epistemological justification are listed: 1) nonarbitrary philosophical preferences 2) empirical grounding of metaphysical conclusions 3) logical coherence of metaphysical conclusions, all of these criteria describing reasonableness. At least this establishes some ground rules for discussion. At this point it seems that any a priori approaches will be held suspect, whether scientifically or philosophically. Further, it appears that, while science, philosophy and religion are considered autonomous, they are still recognized as related. Finally, it suggests that there is a proper way to relate them and that the empirical is given some primacy over the mere rational or practical. Whether or not it is prior to other foci of human concern for this investigator or that, it is certainly regulative. This is to say that the evidential will ultimately guide both the prudential and hermeneutical; the descriptive will guide both the prescriptive and evaluative; facts will guide both our rules and our interpretations. This is not to contradict the peircean notion that the normative sciences mediate between phenomenology and metaphysics (or perhaps that philosophy mediates between science and metaphysics, or that the philosophic mediates between the positivistic and the meta-theoretical). Perhaps it simply recognizes that First Principles and other basic beliefs, such as common sense notions of causality, reality's intelligibility and humankind's intelligence, the existence of other minds over against solipsism, while not logically coercive and empirically demonstrable, are justified in the crucible of human experience and not sniffed out of some rarified platonic air. What we take to be normative, then, has been discovered in a community of inquiry and gained any aura of self-evident truth, not from indubitable, a priori foundations, rather, from practical efficacies realized through time. This approach seems to appeal to the best in correspondence, coherence and virtue theories of epistemology, analogous to those holistic ethical approaches, which appeal to deontological and teleological, as well as aretaic theories of moral philosophy. 4) Methodological naturalism and philosophical naturalism are distinguished by the fact that methodological naturalism is an epistemology as well as a procedural protocol, while philosophical naturalism is a metaphysical position. Although there is variation in the views of modern naturalists, Kurtz's definition captures these two most important aspects of modern naturalism: (1) the reliance on scientific method, grounded in empiricism, as the only reliable method of acquiring knowledge about the natural world, and (2) the inadmissibility of the supernatural or transcendent into its metaphysical scheme. --- If one used a "find and replace" word---processing tool to substitute "multiverse theories" wherever the author uses the word "supernatural," one might wonder if this discussion is going to get a lot more problematical very quickly. One might have the same concern with possibly substituting the phrase "Theories of Everything," for "metaphysics" or "metaphysical scheme." 5) Neither the one [philosophical naturalism] nor the other [science] asserts that only what can be observed exists, for many things may be legitimately inferred to exist (electrons, the expanding universe, the past, the other side of the moon) from what is observed; but both hold that there is no evidence for the assertion of anything which does not rest upon some observed effects. --- This, however, might give one some commmfort regarding putative multiverse theories and TOE's. 6) Since methodological and philosophical naturalism are founded upon the methods and findings, respectively, of modern science, philosophical naturalism is bound to take into account the views of scientists. --- This seems pretty noncontroversial, nooormative even for all philosophic enterprises when interpreting the positivistic findings of science, such findings, in principle, immune from philosophical, metaphysical and theological realms of concern. Philosophy, however, as an autonomous discipline, by definition, is bound to take into account not only the views of scientists but also of all competent philosophers. The point, however, I realize, is that philosophers are being urged toward modesty. I would interpret this as a suggestion to not get too far out in front of science and the empirical realm with one's ruminations in philosophy (especially metaphysics) and the merely rational realm. This seems reasonable enough a request for any metaphysician who wants to be, shall we say, relevant. To the extent science relies not just upon its methodology, popperian falsification, inductive, deductive, and abductive inference, but also on certain conventions regarding its "givens," at any point in time, in other words certain primitives (space, time, mass, energy), forces (weak and strong, electromagnetic, gravity) and axioms (laws of physics), one's metaphysics can lose all meaningful relationship to known reality if one takes too much liberty in "tweaking" these givens. As it is, there is a lot of renormalization of theories that needs to be done in order to even begin a formulation of an exhaustive Theory of Everything, which will reconcile

quantum mechanics, gravity, string theory, M-Theory and such, all relying on different axioms and often mutually unintelligible concepts. 7) Introducing supernatural explanations into science would destroy its explanatory force since it would be required to incorporate as an operational principle the premise that literally anything which is logically possible can become an actuality, despite any and all scientific laws; the stability of science would consequently be destroyed. While methodological naturalism is a procedural necessity for science in its study of the natural world, it is also the rule for philosophical naturalism since the naturalist world view is constrained--and thereby stabilized--by methodological naturalism. Strahler ventures onto the turf of philosophical naturalism when he points out how supernaturalism's lack of methodology renders it metaphysically sterile, in effect pointing out the inseparable connection between epistemology and metaphysics. --- Here one encounters the conundrum of how much humanity's approach to reality is constrained by the exigencies of humankind as knowers and how much it is occulted by the nature of the unknown. 8) Strahler is making an essential point which the philosophical naturalist also makes: the methodology of science is the only viable method of acquiring reliable knowledge about the cosmos. Given this fact, if there is no workable method for acquiring knowledge of the supernatural, then it is procedurally impossible to have knowledge of either a supernatural dimension or entity. In the absence of any alternative methodology, the metaphysical claims one is entitled to make are very strictly limited. The philosophical naturalist, without making any metaphysical claims over and above those warranted by science, can demand from supernaturalists the method that legitimizes their metaphysical claims. In the absence of such a method, philosophical naturalists can not only justifiably refuse assent to such claims, but can deny--tentatively, not categorically--the existence of the supernatural, and for the same reason they deny the existence of less exalted supernatural entities like fairies and ghosts: the absence of evidence. --- These are caveats that apply to any meeetaphysical and theoretical physical explanations that begin to aspire to a Theory of Everything, again, the constellation of multiverse theories. Many of the same objections have been leveled against some of them: not falsifiable, violation of Occam's Razor, tautological, question begging, etc One might not want to get so rigorous that one too narrowly defines science, effectively precluding all rational formulations of even modern theoretical physics. With ever-improving statistical methods, inferences from indirectly observed effects may bridge the gap between what is now only really theoretical mathematics and metaphysics and what may become an increasingly robust theoretical physics. --- Such cutting edge physics, however mettta, is clearly distinguishable from such as Intelligent Design theory. As an hypothesis, it differs from SETI (the search for extraterrestrial intelligence) and other forensic sciences in the following ways: a) It doesn't employ the existing givens of science, which is to say that it is not framed up in terms of known primitives, forces and axioms, for instance, Tegmark's cosmic background radiation. 2) It relies on probability calculations that would require more information about the whole of natural history than is presently available, info hidden in the deepest structures of matter and the earliest moments after the Big Bang. 3) Thus, the hypothesis isn't falsifiable, which means that it is not a scientific hypothesis. 9) Strahler makes another point that is important to the understanding of philosophical naturalism: the metaphysical adequacy of supernaturalism is inversely proportionate to the explanatory power of science. The more science successfully explains, the less need or justification there is for the supernatural as an explanatory principle. Strahler, quoting E. O. Wilson, asserts that the explanatory power of science diminishes the metaphysical adequacy of supernaturalism by explaining even religion: Most importantly, we have come to the crucial stage in the history of biology when religion itself is subject to the explanations of the natural sciences ... sociobiology can account for the very origin of mythology by the principle of natural selection acting on the genetically evolving material structure of the human brain. If this interpretation is correct, the final, decisive edge enjoyed by scientific naturalism will come from its capacity to explain traditional religion, its chief competitor, as a wholly material phenomenon.... --- This seems to drift away from such an   approach as would affirm science and philosophy as autonomous but related disciplines. If science is asking one set of questions and philosophy another set of questions, then there appears to be a category error in mathematically relating their respective findings as proportional, inverse or not. However much one references the findings of science in one's philosophy of nature or even theology of nature, for that matter, as autonomous disciplines asking different questions of reality, their respective "explanations" of reality wouldn't effect each other. It may seem like this on the surface but this would only result when one has otherwise conflated one's science and philosophy, science and metaphysics, science and religion. In this regard, the inexorable march of scientific knowledge has only done a favor to religion insofar as it has hygienically cleansed it of extraneous matter, which belongs to another discipline entirely. --- As far as sociobiology explaining cultttural evolution, one might consult Terry Deacon's peircean assessment of the genetic, memetic and computational fallacy's of Dawkins and Dennett. This is not to suggest that they are that far apart but that some biologists and cognitive scientists are over-reaching, using what are no more than bridging principles, like memes, as exhaustive explanations. Human behavior is much more overdetermined. As someone once said: "If our brains were simple enough that we could understand them, we would be so simple that we couldn't." This is not a huge objection, just a point. I see no reason why theologians should have a stake in whether or not Dennett, Searle, Chalmers, Penrose, Ayn Rand or any other philosophy of mind person is correct. I may even lean toward a Deacon-corrected Dennettian account. If one properly predicates one's scientific vs philosophical-metaphysical vs theological concepts, then no conflicts will arise (and no

affirmations either). 10) Thus it is that the author comments and quotes Strahler: Strahler ventures onto the turf of philosophical naturalism when he points out how supernaturalism's lack of methodology renders it metaphysically sterile, in effect pointing out the inseparable connection between epistemology and metaphysics: "In contrasting the Western religions with science, the most important criterion of distinction is that the supernatural or spiritual realm is unknowable in response to human attempts to gain knowledge of it in the same manner that humans gain knowledge of the natural realm (by experience).... Given this fiat by the theistic believers, science simply ignores the supernatural as being outside the scope of scientific inquiry. Scientists in effect are saying: "You religious believers set up your postulates as truths, and we take you at your word. By definition, you render your beliefs unassailable and unavailable." This attitude is not one of surrender, but simply an expression of the logical impossibility of proving the existence of something about which nothing can possibly be known through scientific investigation." --- Yes, by definition, certain beliefs arrre unassailable. Even if one recognizes the connectedness, the relatedness, of epistemology and metaphysics, their autonomy remains, by definition. This is no metaphysical or theological legerdemain, just a reflection of the architectonic and organon of human knowledge, reflected in our different academic disciplines and even the Bill of Rights. 11) Consider the analogy of cosmic history as an unbroken chain [of causal explanations] made from all possible combinations of two kinds of links, a [supernatural cause, as in religion] and b [natural cause, as in science].... When a theist declares any link in the chain to be an a-link (whereas all the others are b-links), an element of the science set has been replaced by an element of the religion set. When this substitution has been accomplished, the entire ensuing sequence is flawed by that single antecedent event of divine creation and must be viewed as false science, or pseudoscience. The reason that replacement of a single link changed the character of all ensuing links is that each successor link is dependent upon its predecessor in a cause-effect relationship ... that divine act can never be detected by the scientist because, by definition, it is a supernatural act. There exists only the claim that such an act occurred, and science cannot deal in such claims. By the same token, science must reject revelation, as a means of obtaining empirical knowledge. --- This is a good disambiguation of superrrnatural versus natural causation. If one considers, for instance, the classic "proofs" of God's existence, in terms of Primal Causation, whether the prime material, efficient, instrumental, formal or final causation, whether in ontological, cosmological, axiological, epistemological or teleological arguments, one is only speaking analogically, which is to say that God is something LIKE an efficient cause or what have you. For every kataphatic affirmation of what God is or is like, there is a companion apophatic negation which qualifies that statement as not literally true but, rather, metaphorically cast, such that eminently, for instance, God is like efficient causation but in a way that far surpasses anything we know from ordinary reality. Substitute for "efficient causation" any divine attributes you can think of, including truth, beauty, goodness, omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence or what have you and this triadic formula (neoplatonic, dionysian) of alternating kataphasis, apophasis and eminence is the proper predication, nuance, definition and parsing of God-talk in Christianity dating back to the Patristic period, more perfectly articulated later by such as Aquinas. The upshot is that, no, this is manifestly not science. Truth be known, although it has been called natural theology, it is not even theology. It is, rather, metaphysics or natural philosophy. --- Like ALL metaphysics, it is fatally flllawed, pregnant with paradox. In the case at hand there is a causal disjunction paradox that gets introduced by the ontological discontinuity. It is a paradox by virtue of remaining a mystery, unexplained, somewhat question begging, a tad tautological. It is not logically impossible, however, as the author notes next. 12) Under the theistic model, according to Strahler, any recognition of natural causation is logically nullified by the simultaneous assertion of supernatural intervention, either actual or merely possible. Even while differing with Strahler on the logical impossibility of invoking both natural and supernatural explanations--it is logically conceivable if the supernatural and natural causes operate at different ontological levels--one must recognize that invoking supernatural explanations is illegitimate because of the procedural impossibility of ascertaining the facticity of the supernatural cause itself, not to mention its intervention in the chain of natural causes. --- Of course, one is saying that invokinggg supernatural causes is illegitimate in science, but not in philosophy (including metaphysics) or theology. (However, that comes next.) 13) This points to the metaphysical implications of methodological naturalism: if supernatural causal factors are methodologically permissible, the cosmos one is trying to explain is a non-natural cosmos. Conversely, if only natural causal factors are methodologically and epistemologically legitimate as explanations, then only a naturalist metaphysics is philosophically justifiable. --- Again, one may want to be more modest   or employ higher nuance so as not to annihilate highly speculative cosmology and theoretical physics along with metaphysics, where this less and less subtle conflation of science and metaphysics is logically headed. However, are we comparing, at this stage, metaphysical apples with oranges? The "reason" the theistic or deistic metaphysics typically introduces primal causations, however analogous to conventional causation, is to halt a question begging infinite regress that arises from such an assertion as: "The naturalistic view is that the particular universe we observe came into existence and has operated through all time and in all its parts without the impetus or guidance of any supernatural agency." [Arthur Strahler] It can be parsed: The naturalistic view is that the particular universe we observe came into existence and has operated through all time and in all its parts. Now, it is not my intent to caricaturize a naturalistic theory of everything and then to shoot it down like some strawman. However, I would maintain that

any robustly formulated TOE, even assuming a successful renormalization of such presently mutually unintelligible theories as that of quantum mechanics and gravity, will still be inevitably impregnated with one paradox or another, will still be fatally flawed, metaphysically. Don't shoot me; I'm only the messenger of such folks as Whitehead and Godel. --- The metaphysical paradox du jour seemsss to read off a menu of a) question begging b) tautology c) causal disjunction d) infinite regress and such. And, oh yeah, ipse dixit. One can maintain that the laws of the universe we observe are simply given, there by brute force, and we merely observe an emergence dynamic of "something more/else coming from nothing but" or that one accomplishes nothing by taking existence as a predicate of being. If one wants to compare metaphysical apples with apples, then one must elaborate one's philosophical naturalism into a full blown TOE, which is what theism and deism do, however metaphorically. And when one does, I challenge one to attempt same without tweaking existing givens, without introducing a root metaphor, and without introducing a metaphysical paradox (choose the poison that will slay your metaphysics). --- Now, epistemologically, let me attempttt to preempt the charge of a godforsaken mysterian. I always like Haldane's quip that reality is not only stranger than we imagine but stranger than we CAN imagine, but I am willing to qualify it with Chesterton's observation that we don't know enough about reality to say that it is unknowable. I'm even willing to characterize Wittgenstein's aphorism --- it is not HOW things are but THAT things, which is the mystical -- as one of aesthetic sensibility. I think history, in general, and the history of science, in particular, shows that humankind's inexorable but fallible advance of knowledge has resulted from a slow, sometimes not well coordinated, dance between science and philosophy and religion. We have never gotten anywhere with either epistemological hubris or excessive humility. Epistemological holism, in my view, holds the key to future advances. As acknowledged earlier in this commentary, I think it will involve a back to basics consideration of epistemic virtue and vice. It will involve an inventory of what has worked and not worked a) NOT a priorism b) fallibilism c) yes to quasi- and nonfoundational approaches, at least, critical realism d) empirical grounding e) a combination of correspondence, coherence and virtue epistemologies, lakatosian and otherwise f) a recognition of disciplinary autonomy and relatedness and g) that type of STUFF. --- To that extent, we recognize that godeeelian constraints will not, alone, prevent our formulation of a TOE but would only prevent our proving of its axioms within the TOE. For NOW, reality does seem to be stranger than we can imagine. That does not give us a priori warrant to maintain that it will necessarily always be that way. Whatever unprovable axioms remain in our next best grand unified theory as TOE, who's to say they will even be interesting or nontrivial? Who's to say that we won't see and know their truth even if we cannot formally prove them (something like not having to go halfway through Principia Mathematica with Russell and Whitehead in order to "know" that 2 + 2 = 4)? --- For now, I think it is too early to arrrbitrate between philosophical naturalism and deism (the natural philosophy aspect of theism) as competing theories of everything. At least for that part of Classic Christendom that manifestly does not wily nily support silly notions of god-inhabiting gaps, in principle, polemics like this one against so many dei ex machinis leave me as empty as an episode of Ghostbusters. It does feel like a caricaturization of the God of Aquinas in the form of strawgods that are being so deftly mowed down, philosophically. --- It is true that once one opens oneselfff to even a God of the Philosophers that a pluralistic ontology is also logically possible. However, it is not necessary, logically or otherwise, to exploit such causal joints either scientifically or philosophically, whether naively or with an agenda, in order to explain gaps in human knowledge of the natural order. Humankind may continue to discover, through time, the folly of conflating science, philosophy and religion, whether in fideism or scientism. Maybe humankind will also discover that philosophical naturalism or deism or theism is a more compelling TOE, arbitrating same a posteriori. In the meantime, a posteriori, one might make a good argument that a pluralist ontology is more versatile, even for the naturalists with no deistic or theistic inclinations, that it could more robustly explain nonenergetic causations, multiverses, many worlds interpretations, string theory and a host of other hypotheses that will attempt to account for differences in givens between realms --- in terms of primitives, axioms and forces. And we're not talking mere semantics or arguing a univocity of being over against an analogy of being, but those are coherent arguments once we properly disambiguate our terms, renormalize our theorems, predicate our concepts, nuance our metaphysics. Until that is done, how can one seriously urge one metaphysic over another on epistemological grounds? The smart money, for now, in my view, is on epistemological parity for the major extant worldviews (nonfundamentalists). As fellow critical realists, there is much we need to accomplish over against radical fundamentalism in Islam and Christianity without fighting a phantom struggle between philosophical naturalism and deism/theism. Again, in our anxiety to annihilate metaphysics, we are in danger of taking out speculative positivistic science. 14) Let us consider now the comments of Wesley Elsberry, in "Enterprising Science Needs Naturalism": While the subjective appreciation of a role for supernatural causation may be important to personal fulfillment, it does not afford a basis for objective knowledge, nor can it be counted as a means of comprehending the universe in a scientific manner.... --- Supernatural causation is a philosophiiical concept. What then is the point being addressed to those who are not employing it scientifically? --- Also, given the caveats of Hawking, Gooodel, Whitehead -- what scientist is aspiring to "comprehend" the universe, except when "going meta" and even then encountering ineradicable paradox? Anyone notice, by the way, how the TOE's of theoretical physics are ever more resembling the classical arguments for God vis a vis the paradoxes they both encounter and introduce. Close one ontological door and reality opens another epistemological window. 15) Elsberry's point is a methodological one: in explaining the natural world, one can not invoke the supernatural because of

its methodological inaccessibility, and no successful method other than the naturalistic one is available in scientific explanation. However, Elsberry's methodological point has metaphysical implications. If supernatural causation as a methodological principle "does not afford a basis for objective knowledge," the implication is that methodological naturalism does afford one. --- Trivial. That's like saying if philosooophy doesn't yield scientific knowledge, the implication is that science does. 16) If supernatural causation cannot be "counted as a means of comprehending the universe in a scientific manner," the implication is that methodological naturalism can be so counted upon. And comprehending the universe in a scientific manner is the goal of philosophical naturalism. --- That's like saying if philosophy cannooot do science, then science can do science. It is like saying the goal of philosophical naturalism is to be science instead of philosophy or metaphysics. At least there is no trojan horse here. The conflation of science and philosophy, scientistically, not scientifically, is being admitted up front. 17) Steven Schafersman, also a scientist, makes the same point as Elsberry: [N]aturalism is a methodological necessity in the practice of science by scientists, and an ontological necessity for understanding and justifying science by scientists.... The alternative to naturalism is supernaturalism.... [T]he foundations of science ... will not be epistemologically reliable unless naturalism is either true or assumed to be true, since by not doing so, part of reality will remain unexplained and unexplainable. --- This is like saying: "If philosophicalll naturalism is not true, since methodological naturalism is true, then reality might, at least in part, be inexplicable." Oh, we cannot have that! 18) Schafersman's point here is that, given the (procedurally but not logically) necessary exclusivity of methodological naturalism in science, any view of the cosmos other than a naturalistic one becomes unjustifiable. The philosophical naturalist would expand upon this by adding that given the procedurally necessary exclusivity of methodological naturalism in science and the unavailability of any other workable method for grounding any claims with existential import, any metaphysical view of the cosmos other than the naturalistic one is epistemologically unjustifiable. The point is not that supernaturalism is logically impossible; rather, the point is that, from both an epistemological and a methodological standpoint, supernaturalism has not proved its mettle, whereas methodological naturalism has done so consistently and convincingly. Supernaturalism has not provided the epistemology or the methodology needed to support its metaphysics, whereas naturalism has, although the invitation to supernaturalism to do likewise is a standing one, as Schafersman indicates: "except for humans, philosophical naturalists understand nature to be fundamentally mindless and purposeless.... Of course, this doesn't eliminate the possibility of supernatural mind and purpose in nature; the only requirement would be the demonstration of its existence and mechanism, which is up to the supernaturalists to provide. We are still waiting." --- Meta-perspectives, by definition, are   not science but, rather, philosophy or meta-physics. What makes them meta- is that they either aspire to a TOE, which is not falsifiable (godelian constraints) and not, ergo, scientific, or that they introduce new givens: primitives, forces and axioms using a root metaphor formulated as a TOE. Again, we are not arguing, at this point, supernatural causal joints here, there and everywhere, but primal, analogous causation over against a question begging infinite regress (philosophical naturalism). Once one gets past all the meta-narrative and storytelling and myth-making, which is inescapable for ANY metaphysical formulation and tries to formulate a formal TOE argument, the epistemological parity, hence metaphysical parity, is apparent. The primal cause attempt is a very compelling abduction because it moreso resonates with humankind's common sense notions of causality than an instantiated infinite regress. One choose one's brute force givens: God or Nature with metaphysical baggage either way. A mysterious Unknown Cause is more compelling to most folks than a mind-warping infinite regress of known causes. And, yes, it has its multiple aesthetic appeals, but don't knock aesthetics, the search for symmetry and patterns in math and cosmology has had many efficacies. And given metaphysical parity, Occam's Razor per Peirce is better judged by the facility of an abduction than by the multiplication of ontologies. 18) Naturalist philosophers ground their philosophical naturalism in both the failure of the supernaturalist to meet Schafersman's challenge and in the success of methodological naturalism in science. This is because the reliability of knowledge depends on the method by which it is obtained, and as Schafersman says, "science, solely because of its method, is the most successful human endeavor in history. The others don't even come close." --- Yes, we could all be better historiansss of science if we read Stanley Jaki. 19) Lamprecht defines philosophical naturalism as "a philosophical position, empirical in method, that regards everything that exists or occurs to be conditioned in its existence or occurrence by causal factors within one all-encompassing system of nature, however 'spiritual' or purposeful or rational some of these things and events may in their functions and values prove to be."[18] The emphasis in this definition is on the exclusivity of methodological naturalism. This exclusivity is not mandated a priori; the philosophical naturalist justifies it on the basis of the explanatory success of science and the lack of explanatory success of supernaturalism. --- Supernaturalism is first a Theory of Everything before it gets misused as a Theory of Anything. In formal argument, what is philosophical naturalism's TOE? Supernaturalism is NOT a theory of science and ONLY competes with philosophical naturalism as a TOE, metaphysics, philosophy. In that competition, most folks of large intelligence and profound goodwill seem to be conceding epistemological and ontological parity, relying on FAITH, theologically, nonetheless heartened by the

"reasonableness" of their metaphysics/TOE, and not relying on its logical coercion or empirical demonstration. --- The equivalent comparison, as far as cccomprehensive theories go, would be: scientific method plus philosophical method COMPARED to scientific method plus philosophical method. In other words, methodological naturalism plus philosophical naturalism COMPARED to methodological naturalism plus deism/theism. Now, give them a task, any task, whether scientific or philosophical, and judge the outcome in terms of logical consistency, internal coherence, external congruence, hypothetical consonance, interdisciplinary consilience and a host of other epistemic virtues. THEN, set forth the superiority of one hermeneutic over the other. This entire case is built on the apparent epistemic nonvirtue of supernatural explanations in the scientific realm. To avoid a strawman fallacy, a case must be constructed that does not caricature the theistic Theory of Everything as some fideistic Theory of Anything (gods in gaps), demonstrating that the competing metaphysics turn out discernibly different results when describing empirically observable reality per the above-listed epistemic criteria. 20) Methodological naturalism does exclude the supernatural as an explanatory principle because it is unknowable by means of scientific inquiry, whereas philosophical naturalism, both by definition and because of the methodological and epistemological inaccessibility of the supernatural, excludes the latter from its ontological scheme. --- Exclude a primal causal joint paradox   (nonetheless logically possible) and suffer an infinite regress that violates common sense notions of causality. Explanatory adequacy? 21) Let the naturalist prove [says the challenger] ... that there can be no other kind of knowledge, that there can be none but empirical fact! And unless he can prove it, he is a question-begging a priorist.... --- For the time being, I'm willing to connncede that, philosophically, the best metaphysicians are question begging a posteriorists :-) 22) But here, too, the naturalist need undertake to do no such thing. Is there a different kind of knowledge that makes ... [the supernatural] an accessible object of knowledge in a manner inaccessible by the only reliable method we have so far successfully employed to establish truths about other facts? Are there other than empirical facts, say spiritual or transcendent facts? Show them to us.... --- Show me your fallacy-free, paradox freeee TOE and I'll show you mine :-) 23) Methodological naturalism does not disallow the logical possibility that the supernatural exists. To assert categorically that there is no dimension that transcends the natural order is to assert that human cognitive capabilities are sufficient to survey the whole of what there is; such a claim would amount to epistemological arrogance. But neither does methodological naturalism allow that logical possibility is sufficient warrant for the attribution of existence. --- No problem there. 24) At least the naturalist position is well established with respect to the kind of cognitive capabilities we do have. The supernaturalist, on the other hand, makes an assertion for which there is no epistemological justification when claiming that humans can know in any sense other than the natural one. --- Parsing science and philosophy and rellligion, mystical knowing would be a theological assertion and more of an evaluative, interpretive, hermeneutical inclination toward the belief that everything is ultimately meaningful than any descriptive, factual, evidential knowing, or even a prescriptive, rule-like, prudential knowing. It is an evaluative over against perhaps to unmitigated nihilism, practical nihilism and hermeneutics that affirm only temporal meaning. 25) Therefore, the belief of the supernaturalist is on neither a logical nor an evidential par with the disbelief of the naturalist. --- OK per my qualification above. Is the   naturalist making a descriptive, factual, evidential judgment, or a prescriptive, rule-based, prudential judgment or an evaluative, interpretive, hermeneutical judgment or practical value in their disbelief? If we quit criss-crossing disciplines making wily nily category errors, then I think we'd find that the naturalist and theist can agree on most everything, consistently and coherently, pertaining to the descriptive-evidential, and most things, too, regarding the prescriptive-prudential, locating their major differences in the evaluative-hermeneutical -- and not entirely there either! 26) What Hook says about the existence of God can just as well be used here with reference to any supernatural belief --- The primal cause inference in a TOE, cccompared to the infinite Nature inference --- or gods in gaps inferences compared tooo scientific explanations? Two entirely different things. 27) Supernatural claims are existential claims, i.e., they have existential import, and so are subject to the same evidentiary requirements as claims about the natural order.[27] Yet despite this, even though no method which does not depend upon empirical verification has ever been demonstrated for ascertaining conclusively the truth of existential claims, supernatural claims are beyond the reach of these requirements. Paradoxically, supernatural claims are the kind of propositions for which empirical evidence is required, but impossible to obtain. The cognitive apparatus has not been identified through which one can know the supernatural. --- The polemic continues to be on supernaaatural claims a la god-inhabited gaps over against science, when the salient argument should be on theism/deism as TOE versus philosophical naturalism as TOE, which is a stalemate 28) "Existential possibility" is understood here as meaning both (1) logical possibility--the absence of logical contradiction, and (2) the availability of specifiable, describable, and necessary ontological conditions which must obtain for a thing to be or to become actual. Existential possibilities are those which we can justifiably expect to be actualities now or in the future (or which were actualities in the past), and logical possibilities are a larger class of possibilities

containing those which we can envision without logical contradiction, some of which also are or may be actualities, but others of which we either never expect to occur or the actuality of which we cannot confirm in any way. Claims about the natural world are both existential possibilities and logical possibilities. Some possibilities, however, can never be anchored to experienced reality via intersubjective, verifiable, empirical data and are thus merely logical. Although they have existential import, they remain logical possibilities only, in which one may believe but for which one has insufficient, maybe even no, evidence or justification. The supernatural is such a possibility because conclusive verification of its reality is beyond human capability; there is no method by which to do this. --- TOE's can never be anchored to experieeenced reality via intersubjective, verifiable, empirical data and are thus merely logical. The TOEs of philosophical naturalism and those of deism/theism. Well said. 29) What analogous conditions may be specified for the existential possibility of supernatural entities? --- Analogous to winged horses or to a TOEEE of philosophical naturalism? 30) Again, there must be no logical contradictions in the concept of a supernatural entity. So, for example, the concept of a being which can exist without physical substance of some kind must be thinkable. Yet even the concept is not clearly possible in this first respect. If one is thinking of something with no measurable physical dimensions or detectable physical presence, one can plausibly argue that one is thinking about nothing. Even if the stipulation is made that a non-physical, supernatural entity is detectable only by its physical effects, one is still faced not only with the traditional, irresolvable dualism, but with the problem that one can, even in principle, detect only the phenomena which are being question-beggingly designated as "effects," and not the supernatural phenomenon which is posited as the cause. Therefore, not only are the questions of both existence and causal efficacy begged, but one is still essentially thinking about something which can simultaneously be conceived as both "something" and "nothing," a logical impossibility. --- Logical contradictions in God-conceptsss mostly derive from proper predication, definition, nuance and disambiguation of the attributes in question, primarily failure to recognize their analogical character and not literal character. 31) Saying that the supernatural is a logical possibility, then, is not saying very much. --- True. It is like accepting the laws offf the universe as brute fact in need of no explanation. One can existentially, with ultimate concern, give oneself over to this interpretation of reality or that, and in this day and age, there's not much available to arbitrate between TOE's, rationally or empirically. Practically, though, there's a lot to discuss. 32) Methodological naturalism, on the other hand, asserts the continuity of analysis, meaning that, in turn, philosophical naturalism asserts ontological continuity--a cosmos without the ontological bifurcations of supernaturalism.[30] This position carries no burden of proof of any kind with respect to the supernatural, for it makes no existential claims over and above what can be empirically established by universally applicable methods. These difficulties suffice to explain why supernaturalism cannot be appealed to in explanation of natural phenomena, whereas the demonstrated success of methodological naturalism suffices to show why it is the only justifiable explanatory principle. --- It has been established over and over   that methodological naturalism is the only justifiable explanatory principle for science. That's like saying that science is the only justifiable approach to science. 33) According to Hook, "This sounds very dogmatic, but is really an expression of intellectual humility that seeks to avoid unlimited credulity. It does not doubt that we possess scientific knowledge but leaves open the question of what we can have knowledge about.... Such humility does not assert that the experience of knowledge exhausts all modes of experience or that scientific knowledge is all-knowing."[31] --- Yes, we continue to wonder how much offf our ignorance is due to the exigencies of us as knowers or due to the nature of the unknown. Science is based on evidence and is empirical. Philosophy is based on reason ands is rational. Theology is based on faith and is evaluative, interpretive. The use of the term faith is a lot more humble, ostensibly, than a nuanced argument asserting one's ontology is the only epistemologically justified metaphysics. 34) Understanding methodological naturalism as the adoption of a skeptical temperament which emphasizes the scientific analysis of all areas of human inquiry, we now may examine the precise nature of the connection between methodological naturalism and philosophical naturalism. --- Put succinctly: There is no such thinggg as metaphysics? 35) Adopted in the sciences because of its explanatory and predictive success, methodological naturalism is the intellectual parent of modern philosophical naturalism as it now exists, meaning that philosophical naturalism as a world view is a generalization of the cumulative results of scientific inquiry. With its roots in late 19th-century science in the aftermath of Darwin's The Origin of Species, it is neither the a priori premise nor the logically necessary conclusion of methodological naturalism, but the well grounded a posteriori result. --- I agree that metaphysics should be a ppposteriori and fallibilistic. One might also, for the sake of historical accuracy, further trace one's roots in science to its roots. Cf. Jaki. 36) This is where philosophical naturalism wins--it is a substantive world view built on the cumulative results of methodological naturalism, and there is nothing comparable to the latter in terms of providing epistemic support for a world view. If knowledge is only as good as the method by which it is obtained, and a world view is only as good as its epistemological underpinning, then from both a methodological and an epistemological standpoint, philosophical naturalism is more justifiable than any other world view that one might conjoin with methodological naturalism. --- What if a worldview was only as good aaas its formulated TOE? What if we applied the pragmatic maxim to this now redundant

assertion that philosophical naturalism is more justifiable than any other worldview that employs science, too? What difference would it make if two folks with different worldviews, one theistic/deistic, one nontheistic, but otherwise subscribing fully to science, went into the lab to perform an experiment? What's the cash value of having a nontheistic vs theistic worldview when it comes to hypothesis formulation, abduction, induction, deduction, falsification, verification, prediction etc etc in the field or lab? How does one translate this rational assessment of "more justifiable" into an empirical test? How might one frame up an hypothesis and devise a test to falsify the claim that philosophical naturalism is more justifiable than any other worldview when conjoined with science? What does the history of science show when comparing cultures with materialist and idealist monisms versus prevailing monotheistic ontologies? 37) In the face of what I consider a compelling case for philosophical naturalism, I must also point out that philosophical naturalism is not an epistemologically airtight metaphysics for two reasons: (1) Since it tracks the developments of science and depends upon its methodology, it is marked by not only the groundedness but also the tentativity of scientific understanding. (2) Neither can it be a guaranteed certainty until the nonexistence of the supernatural can be conclusively established. But this lack of epistemological certainty is emphatically not a weakness, but rather the strength, of philosophical naturalism. One never has "proof" of a comprehensive world view if proof is defined strictly as logical demonstration, and exactly the same is true of any comprehensive metaphysical view, meaning that none enjoys the security of absolute certainty. Naturalists, grounding their metaphysics in science, learned from Descartes' failed attempt to ground science upon metaphysics that science cannot proceed under the constraint of a priori certainty. --- EUREKA! All metaphysics are fallible aaand should be a posteriori. 38) The problem with the demand that a world view be privileged with a priori certainty is that if one starts with non-empirical basic beliefs--assumptions gleaned from introspection, conceptual analysis, or deduction--there is no guarantee that any basic belief, or any of the contents of introspective reflection, or any of the concepts analyzed, or any of the premises from which deductions are derived, will be at all consistent with human experience or with science. What is needed is a metaphysics in which, very simply, (1) there are no logical contradictions and (2) for which there is the greatest evidential justification--in short, one which places the least strain on rational credibility. Absolute certainty is not required, nor is it even possible given naturalism's reliance upon science for its ontological categories. Moreover, given that philosophical naturalism, a generalization of the results of scientific method, consequently shares the advantage of the self-correction of science, a priori certainty is not even desirable. --- I think a lot of the a priorists were   unconsciously competent in that what they described as self-evident was really just the community of inquiry's historical a posteriori conclusions regarding such as First Principles. For gosh sakes, one cannot disprove solipsism. 39) Philosophical naturalism, rather than constructing a world view from a priori ontological categories, constructs a world view ordered by categories constructed from the ground up, so to speak, on the basis of empirically ascertained knowledge of nature; its categories are just as stable, or just as fluid, as scientific explanations themselves. Actually, except for its one most stable category, "nature," philosophical naturalism commits itself a priori to no particular ontological categories, and to no ultimate categories at all. For the philosophical naturalist, ontological categories are not a priori primitives, but a posteriori derivatives of scientific theories and common human experience. As such, the ontological categories of philosophical naturalism are not scientifically restrictive, meaning, very importantly, that they are subject to any adjustments to which scientific theories are subject and can be altered as scientific understanding changes. William R. Dennes, in Naturalism and the Human Spirit, points out that philosophical naturalism has a history of such revisions: "The last half-century has seen a striking shift in what may be called the basic, as contrasted with the derivative, categories employed in naturalistic philosophy. Older interpretations in terms of matter, motion, and energy ... have given way to interpretations in terms of events, qualities, and relations...." --- Or even semiotic realism. Root metaphooors change. Again, no a priorism and fallibilistic approach is good. 40) Indeed, for the philosophical naturalist, the very existence of metaphysics as an independent philosophical discipline is questionable. It is clearly not a discipline which has added in any substantive way to our knowledge of the world, as admitted by Kornblith: "What does have priority over both metaphysics and epistemology, from the naturalistic perspective, is successful scientific theory, and not because there is some a priori reason to trust science over philosophy, but rather because there is a body of scientific theory which has proven its value in prediction, explanation, and technological application. This gives scientific work a kind of grounding which no philosophical theory has thus far enjoyed." --- Popperian falsification has provided ttthe necessary short-cuts, independent of philosophical inquiry. 41) Hook certainly does not see in metaphysics a discipline which adds to the cumulative knowledge of the world: I do not believe that there is any consistent usage for the term "ontological." I ... propose that we call "ontological" those statements which we believe to be cognitively valid, or which assert something that is true or false, and yet which are not found in any particular science.... For example ... There are many colors in the world; Colors have no smell or sound.... Thinking creatures inhabit the earth.[43] --- Modal ontology of possible, actual anddd necessary seems more efficacious when changed to possible, actual and probable, especially when coupled to semiotic realism. Ontological vagueness seems to have its merits. So does fuzzy logic. 42) For the philosophical naturalist, the rejection of supernaturalism is a case of "death by a thousand cuts." Since its inception, methodological naturalism has consistently chipped away at the plausibility of the existential claims made by

supernaturalism by providing increasingly successful explanations of aspects of the world which religion has historically sought to explain, e.g., human origins. The threat faced by supernaturalism is not the threat of logical disproof, but the fact of having its explanations supplanted by scientific ones. --- Actually, the advance of knowledge hasss served as good architectonic hygiene, purging the various disciplines of category errors. It is not so much that religion has retreated in the face of science's advance, although this may be a sociological datum of a sort. It is that religion has more properly been religion, science has been science and philosophy has been philosophy, all autonomous disciplines but still related and mediating one another. Fundamentalisms remain a real threat to humankind's wellbeing. 43) This expansion and confirmation of scientific knowledge, combined with the absence of any other reliable methodology, results in the increasing marginalization of non-naturalistic world views. --- Margins? They're a good thing, right?   Coloring in the lines and all? Big deal. 44) The gaps in scientific knowledge which have historically functioned as entry points for divine creativity are considerably narrower than they were just a generation ago. Every expansion in scientific knowledge has left in its wake a more shrunken space of possibilities from which to infer the plausibility of supernaturalism. Science is yielding an increasingly expansive and supportable picture of continuity between humans and other life forms, and between living organisms and the rest of the cosmos from whose elements, such as the carbon produced during the evolution of stars, these organisms are constituted. The more expansive the continuity, the firmer the foundation for the inference from methodological naturalism to philosophical naturalism, and the less plausible the non-naturalistic explanations. --- The more science is science and religiiion is religion, the less religion masquerading as science gives the wrong answers to the wrong questions. As for non-naturalistic explanations, that must be nuanced carefully in order to protect theoretical physics. Today's nonnatural is tomorrow's new primitive, force or axiom. But that's just talking about science. If one means by nonnaturalistic explanation something philosophical or metaphysical, then plausibility is not affected one iota. 45) Since philosophical naturalism is an outgrowth of methodological naturalism, and methodological naturalism has been validated by its epistemological and technological success, then every expansion in scientific understanding lends it further confirmation. For example, should life be genuinely created in the laboratory from the non-organic elements which presently comprise living organisms, this discovery would add tremendous weight to philosophical naturalism. Should cognitive science and neurobiology succeed conclusively in explaining the phenomenon of human consciousness, mind-body dualism would be completely undermined, and philosophical naturalism would again be immeasurably strengthened.[45] --- Strengthened versus whom? Even the olddd aristotelian hylomorphism (and the thomistic notion of the soul) has no stake in philosophy of mind or cognitive science findings. One continues to tilt at fundamentalist windmills, playing Ghostbuster for their deus ex machina. 46) We are confronted with an asymptotic decrease in the existential possibility of the supernatural to the point at which it is wholly negligible. --- Let's see, if Emerson said the gods arrrrive when the half-gods depart, and science has been driving such idols out of the temple (thank you very much), then your TOE of philosophical naturalism is better than my TOE because ??????? 47) Science, because of its reliance upon methodological naturalism, lends no support to belief in the supernatural. Consequently, philosophical naturalism, because of its own grounding in methodological naturalism, has no room for it either. While for the supernaturalist, this absence may be the chief complaint against both science and methodological naturalism, for the philosophical naturalist, it is the source of the greatest confidence in both. --- What we have here is not the death of   metaphysics, but the heralded end of logical positivism, radical empiricism and a priorism, all which I applaud, along with a fallibilistic metaphysics. It is also a deconstruction of a caricature of the God of Thomas Aquinas and, ergo, many others of us, too. I think I may be enough of an epistemological optimist to agree with the project of choosing a metaphysic based on the efficacies and practicalities of one's worldview. In that regard, the case to be made is a LOT more controversial than the one stated here. There are bigger philosophical adversaries to pick on than the fundamentalist, intelligent design cohort, if one wants to make a compelling case for one's epistemological justification and warrant paradigm. The argument constructed here pretends to invoke the pragmatic maxim showing the advantages of philosophical naturalism over theism but only demonstrated the advantages of philosophical naturalism over fundamentalisms.   I suppose a lesson to be learned from the experience of Christoph Cardinal Schönborn is that one should not aspire to disambiguate evolution and intelligent design in a newspaper opinion if our judicial system has yet to succeed after so many legal opinions. So, that's not my ambition. I would like to offer a few distinctions toward the end of clarifying and advancing the ongoing discussions. Perhaps it would be helpful to recharacterize the conversation between evolutionists and ID proponents from a dialogue to a trialogue. This would better reflect the science and religion relationship, which is mediated by philosophy. The disciplines of science, philosophy and religion are autonomous because they ask different questions of reality. One can ask 1) What is it? 2) Why is it? and 3) What's it to ya? when probing reality.

Science answers the first question in terms of where, when, what and how. Thus it instructs us regarding the space-time-mass-energy plenum. The correspondence between where and space, when and time, what and mass, how and energy, is not accidental. It reveals the essence of science. It tries to uncover reality's facts. Philosophy answers our why questions, probing the truth, beauty and goodness of reality and elaborating its answers in the subdisciplines of logic, aesthetics and ethics. The correspondence between truth and logic, beauty and aesthetics, and goodness and ethics is simple enough. It tries to uncover reality's rules. Religion answers the What's it to ya? question, probing the truth, beauty and goodness of reality and elaborating its answers in terms of meaning. It articulates its encounter with truth as creed. It celebrates its encounter with beauty by cultivating ritual and liturgy. It preserves its encounter with goodness through codifications and laws. Thus religion uncovers reality's meaning through creed, cult and code. Each of these disciplines has its own communities of inquiry. Science has its competing theories and cohorts. Philosophy has its schools. Religion has its denominations. They encounter reality from many different perspectives and at many different levels. There are any number of triads that capture, only in part, this trialogic dynamic. One might draw distinctions between 1) facts, rule and interpretations 2) the descriptive, prescriptive and evaluative 3) the empirical, rational and practical 4) evidential, prudential and hermeneutical 5) research, reason and faith. For the most part, one could belong to any scientific cohort, philosophical school or religious denomination without membership in one community necessitating membership in another, at least from standpoints of internal coherence and logical consistency. This is because the scientific, philosophical and religious communities of inquiry are not asking the same questions and therefore not yielding competing answers about reality. With this schema in mind, then, we can describe the trialogue concerning cosmic and human origins as a conversation between 1) natural science 2) natural philosophy and 3) a theology of nature. We can distinguish evolution, intelligent design and creationism, respectively, as scientific, philosophical and religious inquiries. These disambiguations don't provide all of the nuance, predication, parsing and definition necessary, however. For instance, there is a close relationship between metaphysics and theoretical physics. This relationship varies to the extent that, when taken together, reality's facts and rules (its givens in terms of primitives space, time, mass and energy, forces and axioms) lend themselves to at least indirect empirical observation. Such observation can reveal one's rational metaphysical formulations to be hypothetically consonant and externally congruent with one's empirical physical observations, or not. Also, natural theology has traditionally dealt with the God of the Philosophers and is moreso philosophy than theology, more closely related to quantum gravity, M-theory, string theory and other TOE's (Theory of Everything) than to the deities of revealed religions. Its formulations and articulations are subject to the same theoretical constraints, even, as other metaphysics or TOE's. Specifically, then, intelligent design can be parsed into science, philosophy and religion. One might properly categorize the issue of irreducible complexity as science and claim that ID's particular design inference is analogous to any other drawn in forensic science or, perhaps, SETI (our search for extraterrestrial intelligence). In addition to this scientific inference, there would be the philosophical design inference, which is little different from that of deism, for example. In addition to these inferences, there is a religious design inference, which is that of a Creator, in creationism. Thus ID proponents set forth their take on natural science, natural philosophy and a theology of nature. In closing, as for deism and creationism, philosophically and theologically, there is no novelty in ID's inferences. There is novelty, however, in their "scientific" approach. As an hypothesis, it differs from SETI and other forensic sciences in the following ways: 1) It doesn't employ the existing givens of science, which is to say that it is not framed up in terms of known primitives, forces and axioms. 2) It relies on probability calculations that would require more information about the whole of natural history than is presently available, such info remaining hidden in the deepest structures of matter and the earliest moments after the Big Bang. 3) Given # 1 and # 2, then, the hypothesis isn't falsifiable, which is to say that it is not a scientific hypothesis. It is more complex than what I set forth above. I do know this, however. Our textbooks and curricula should be left alone and the scarce financial and human resources of our educational and legal establishments should not be further squandered.

http://bellsouthpwp.net/p/e/per-ardua-ad-astra/contemplation.htm

Click Here to Return to Contemplation as The Epistemic Virtue   "there must be a renewal of communion between the traditional, contemplative disciplines and those of science, between the poet and the physicist, the priest and the depth psychologist, the monk and the politician." Merton While Merton affirms that our symbols can bring us into closer contact with reality, he cautions against identifying them with reality. In a sense, he was saying, with Ralph Waldo Emerson : "Heartily know. When half-gods go, The gods arrive.". "What is this (contemplative prayer) in relation to action? Simply this. He (and she) who attempts to act and do things for others or for the world without this deepening of his own self-understanding, freedom, integrity, and capacity to love, will not have anything to give others. He will communicate to them nothing but the contagion of his own obsessions, his aggressiveness, his egocentered ambitions, his delusions about ends and means, his doctrinaire prejudices and ideas." Thomas Merton," The Climate of Monastic Prayer"

  The peircean leitmotif, to wit: 1) a contrite fallibilism 2) community of inquiry   I think a case can be made that, historically, most doctrine (of whatever bent) has been formulated over against other perspectives. In most worldviews, then, what we see presented as doctrine is an uneconomical accumulation of dialectical analysis setting forth why the other fellow is wrong. This is not to say that, through dialogical engagement, by using other perspectives as a foil, one cannot come to a deeper understanding of one's own and others' perspectives. However, it is to suggest that we can sometimes forfeit the opportunity to define ourselves on our own terms, which makes for a more compelling articulation of our positions. These positions are often called essential doctrine because they do define the essence of our perspectives. And we do need to segregate these essentials from the accidentals that appertain even as we avoid such an essentialism as enshrines such core doctrine as somehow more than a provisional closure by our community of inquiry. Confusion between "provisional essentials" and accidentals can diminish the force of our positions, too.   Perhaps this comes from playing to your audience, recognizing the need to both 1) articulate your position on its own terms for all the reasons I stated above, while 2) engaging your wider readership in dialogue, which does require dialectical analysis. My approach is precisely to first go round the bush, dialogically, because it does deepen my understanding of my own position. This does not mean that I don't pick a pocket full of posies, which is to say, my posi-tions which are to be abstracted from theee dialogue and restated affirmatively own my own terms. In fact, this is where I find myself now, after years of dialogue with diverse hermeneutics. I am trying to write my epistemological position statement. I forgot or did not know you were working on a RN book. If I have properly gathered that you and I share an epistemology, then I will cease and desist from this enterprise and go birding. In short, perhaps there is a need for two books or two sections, one stating your position and one more dialogical. The third major thrust would deal with practical applications?     Well, I share your mission to articulate a more compelling morality. My approach would be to separate the evaluative perspective of RN into prudential (practical) and nonprudential judgments (interpretive). The latter might set forth the evaluative elements in the process of assent given to propositional RN by religious naturalists. I haven't quite worked out the former because, as I stated before, I am trying to repossess the ownership of ethics and metaethics from the interpretive realm, reinvesting title in the practical realm. Be on the lookout for the sheriff's sale advertisement and show up at the hermeneutical courthouse steps prepared to bid. Seriously, for all my emphasis on constraint placed on the respective realms of concern by the other (lower hierarchical) realms, I am still trying to articulate and nuance some of the claims made by the hermeneutical realm on the practical, then rational, then empirical realms, respectively. For instance, both your and my hermeneutics presuppose a metaphysical realism and mine presupposes a moral realism, too. That's all I have been willing to concede by way of hermeneutical priority. Any minimalist downward constraint doesn't really derive from any propositional impetus given by the hermeneutical realm per se. In my view, it pretty much derives from evaluative, prephilosophical presuppositions, from attitudes, which are moreso akin to first principles, which free us to engage in science, to engage in philosophy and to engage in prudential judgment without dictating the content that will result from those engagements. This attitude might aptly be described as Kung's fundamental trust in uncertain reality, which is the referent receiving our assent. (Your and my book chapters, I reckon, would look very much the same until we get to the part where I refer to the Referent.) As far as ethical and metaethical in/consistencies, I have never been in a conversation about same that did not have all parties discussing a moral object in terms of act and intent and circumstances. However, I have almost, without exception, seen overemphasis on act or intent or circumstances, respectively, by various deontologists, aretaics and teleologists. "All the great questions Revisited in light of Religious Naturalism," should have identical chapter content to my own vis a vis the empirical and rational realms. And we should be able to get half-way through the chapter on the practical realm, right up to where we established our minimalist formalism, before our hermeneutics depart and our dialectical analysis commences regarding our respective justifications for any otherwise disparate provisional closures. At that point, let the jousting over our hermeneutical brook (not just an allegory, not just a metaphor but also a double entendre) begin. I'll be Little John. You can be Robin Hood. Not to worry, however. If you're right, the water is swift, but shallow. Your retort should be. I knew Little John. Little John was a friend of mine. And you, Friar, are no Little John.   Let me suggest something. I have not inquired after Jack's epistemology or natural theology. I would have to think that he would have no problem with my epistemological schema because of my lonerganian slant. As a process thinker, I think he would join me in rejecting Lonergan's transcendental a priorism, while otherwise loudly applauding his foundational and methodological approach. My preoccupation has been with justification issues, epistemology and methodology. It is a bottom up approach and is very much pre-theological. It is my impression that, because of his appreciation for both Lonergan and Polanyi, Jack shares my bottom up perspectives. However, his preoccupation is with the top down project. It asks the question "Once one has this hermeneutic, then how does one interpret nature in that light, still consistent with and constrained by one's foundations?" In short, I have been doing natural theology (and that is a misnomer because, from certain perspectives, there is no such thing). Jack, for his part, has been about what we call a theology of nature. And when it comes to that, all y'all can do is to allow your disparate hermeneutics to argue one past the other. The

constructive engagement of your hermeneutics would require careful dialectical analysis to more precisely locate your impasse with Jack, which I suggest is in the practical realm and in a room in the same justificatory hallway as mine, penthouse suite I might add. So, this is just to suggest that Jack's philosophy is no more convoluted than our own, epistemologically. His theology of nature may get too far out in front of the evidence available to us for TOE construction per your propositional guages and by my aesthetic sensibilities. That charge would probably stick. But it is also part and parcel of any TOE construction to be HIGHLY cosmologically speculative, insofar as that is in its very nature, so he likely wouldn't take it as an ad hominem. He is a speculative theologian by trade.   What we see are folks changing definitions of knowledge, cognition, justification and truth in an effort to best come to grips with how humans engage reality. It is apparent that there is not a one size fits all approach to these definitions, although, perhaps, in an ideal world there would be. In my view, as meaning-makers and value-seekers, humans interrogate and probe reality from different viewpoints using different prespectives and asking distinctly different questions. 1) When we ask synthetic questions from an objective viewpoint with an empirical perspective asking positivistic questions, thru induction and falsification, we fallibly but inexorably advance in our knowledge of reality's facts - the quid facti. 2) When we ask analytic questions from a subjective viewpoint with a rational perspective asking logical and mathematical questions, thru deduction but with godelian constraints, we advance in our knowledge of reality's rules and axioms - the quid juri. 3) When we ask prudential questions from an interobjective viewpoint with a practical perspective asking moral and pragmatic questions, thru abduction, reductio, pragmatic maxim, etc, we advance in our knowledge of reality's disposition toward us - the quid pro quo of extrinsic values. 4) When we ask evaluative questions from an intersubjective viewpoint with a hermeneutical perspective and aesthetical and relational questions related to beauty and trust , we advance in our appreciation of reality's intrinsic values --- values revealed by our existential orientations to seemingly transcendental imperatives - the quid agitis. These realms of concern in their respective probes are basically ask of reality: 1) What are the facts? 2) What are the rules? 3) What's in it for me and others? 4) How's it going ;-) ? As we proceed from the empirical to the rational to the practical to the hermeneutical perspectives, the risk-reward ratio, which represents the amount of epistemic risk we are willing to take (the risk of being wrong) relative to the value-realization we are seeking in our venture, justifies increasingly risky epistemic postures, which play out as changes in the definitions of truth, knowledge, cognition and justification to progressively minimalistic versions. I am not prescribing an approach but describing what I think I see humankind doing.  

necessary, sufficient? distinction, dichotomy? comprehensive, exhaustive? dissolve a dichotomy dichotomize a distinction develop a triangulation strategy for a polarity develop a creative tension in a polar reality disambiguate a definition discover a logical fallacy determine the truth value of a premise depend on a reductio ad absurdum distinguish the empirical from the logical and the practical distinguish the formal, quasiformal and informal distinguish the moral from the legal and the political distinguish the aretaic, deontological and teleological distinguish between logical/formal causation and efficient causation distinguish between essentialism and nominalism distinguish between root metaphors and givens (primitives, forces & axioms) prescind to a metaperspective - for instance, to phenomenological or semiotic from ontological distinguish between heuristic devices, conceptual placeholders, bridging concepts and comprehensive, exhaustive theories distinguish between the necessary and the sufficient distinguish, in Occam's Razor, between facility (epistemologically) and simplicity (ontologically)   determine whether a paradox is veridical, falsidical, antinomial or conditional and suffers from infinite regress, causal disjunction, circular reference, tautology, question begging, in/completeness, in/consistency, sacrificing explanatory adequacy, common sense, classical notions of causation, other first principles   A veridical paradox produces a result that appears absurd but is demonstrated to be true nevertheless. A falsidical paradox establishes a result that not only appears false but actually is false. A paradox which is in neither class may be an antinomy, which reaches a self-contradictory result by properly applying accepted ways of reasoning,

usually pointing out genuine problems in our understanding of the ideas of truth and description. Conditional paradoxes are contradictory only if certain special assumptions are made, some showing that those assumptions are false or incomplete.
  Click Here for Analysis of Marion’s Death of the Mythic God

Christian Nonduality

Eskimo Kiss Waltz
NEW: Cathlimergent Internet Forum The Christian Nonduality Blog Home Radical Emergence Nonduality & the Emerging Church Emergence Happens When: To Avow & Dis-avow an Axiological Vision of the Whole Montmarte, Colorado Springs & the Kingdom Wanted: Women Warriors Maiden, Mother, Crone & Queen: archetypes & transformation East Meets West Ki, Qi, Chi, Prana & Kundalini No-Self & Nirvana elucidated by Dumoulin One: Essential Writings in Nonduality - a review Simone Weil John of the Cross Thomas Merton The True Self The Passion Hermeneutical Eclecticism & Interreligious Dialogue The Spirit Christian Nonduality more on Nonduality The Contemplative Stance Hesychasm Mysticism - properly considered Karl Rahner Wounded Innocence Rogation Days Radical Orthodoxy

ESKIMO KISS WALTZ © John Sobert Sylvest 2009 D Tuning ¾ Time D// I remember when I first saw you D (5th fret) / / I was singing and you crossed the room D (10th fret) / / G / / ‘Fore I knew it, we were hugging and your nose touched my nose D// I still love when your nose rubs my nose D// I suppose that it’s just how it goes D (5th fret) / / Like the snow melts or when the wind blows D (10th fret) / / G / / You were newborn in the cradle and my nose touched your nose D// How I cried when your nose touched my nose CHORUS Dma7 (9th fret) Em7 (7th fret) Life’s full of laughter, life’s full of tears D (5th fret) G Our share of pain and joy down through the years

Presuppositionalism vs Nihilism? Science Epistemic Virtue Pan-semioentheism: a pneumatological theology of nature Architectonic Anglican - Roman Dialogue The Ethos of Eros Musings on Peirce Eskimo Kiss Waltz the Light Side of Dark Comedy Blog Visits Other Online Resources Are YOU Going to Scarborough Fair? Suggested Reading Tim King's Post Christian Blog The Dylan Mass If You Are In Distress, Spiritual or Otherwise pending The Great Tradition properly conceived Postmodern Conservative Catholic Pentecostal

Dma7 (2nd fret) Em7 (2nd fret) Like rain in the summer, like thorns on a rose DG// Everyone learns that’s just how it goes D G A (5th fret) A (9th fret) And everything’s better when nose touches nose 2nd Verse D// Your mother, she’d light up our days D (5th fret) / / She blessed us in so many ways D (10th fret) / / G / / As we watched her take her last breath and your nose touched her nose D// How we cried when your nose touched her nose D// I suppose that it’s just how it goes D (5th fret) / / Like the snow melts or when the wind blows D (10th fret) / / G / / From the cradle to your first love to your very last breath D// Life is better when nose touches nose CHORUS Dma7 (9th fret) Em7 (7th fret) Life’s full of laughter, life’s full of tears D (5th fret) G Our share of pain and joy down through the years

Dma7 (2nd fret) Em7 (2nd fret) Like rain in the summer, like thorns on a rose DG// Everyone learns that’s just how it goes D G A (5th fret) A (9th fret) And everything’s better when nose touches nose _____________________________________________ ♫♪♬♪♫♪♬It's been performed 3 times, one wedding & 2 other gigs by http://www.myspace.com/papapat1 ♫♪♬♪♫♪♬ but I've never heard it! I heard the chorus, both music & lyrics, in a dream one night, got up, grabbed my guitar and wrote it all down. I'll share the mp3 once it's recorded on the next album. ♥Happy 50th Birthday, Bonnie. I love you forever.♥

Christian Nonduality http://twitter.com/johnssylvest Bird Photos by David Joseph Sylvest johnboy@christiannonduality.com

Christian Nonduality

The Ethos of Eros
NEW: Cathlimergent Internet Forum The Christian Nonduality Blog Home Radical Emergence Nonduality & the Emerging Church Emergence Happens When: To Avow & Dis-avow an Axiological Vision of the Whole Montmarte, Colorado Springs & the Kingdom Wanted: Women Warriors Maiden, Mother, Crone & Queen: archetypes & transformation East Meets West Ki, Qi, Chi, Prana & Kundalini No-Self & Nirvana elucidated by Dumoulin One: Essential Writings in Nonduality - a review Simone Weil John of the Cross Thomas Merton The True Self The Passion Hermeneutical Eclecticism & Interreligious Dialogue The Spirit Christian Nonduality more on Nonduality The Contemplative Stance Hesychasm Mysticism - properly considered Karl Rahner Wounded Innocence Rogation Days Radical Orthodoxy

Toward a Consistent Ethos of Eros Humans journey through life in pursuit of truth, beauty, goodness and unity. We realize these values through ongoing conversions, respectively, intellectual, affective, moral and social (Cf. Lonergan's thought). Our churches institutionalize these values, respectively, through, creed, cult, code and community. As Catholics, we look for guidance in our value-realization strategies in the light of scripture, tradition, magisterium-sensus fidelium, reason (e.g. philosophy) and experience (e.g. biological & behavioral sciences, individual testimonies). In the old days, both our social justice and sexual morality teachings relied on approaches based in classicism, natural law and legalism. Nowadays, our social justice theory employs three new methodologies, respectively, historical consciousness, personalism and relationality-responsibility (Cf. Curran's thought). Modern Catholic social justice teachings enjoy widespread credibility due to these updated methodologies, which are eminently transparent to human reason. There is, however, no such thing

Presuppositionalism vs Nihilism? Science Epistemic Virtue Pan-semioentheism: a pneumatological theology of nature Architectonic Anglican - Roman Dialogue The Ethos of Eros Musings on Peirce Eskimo Kiss Waltz the Light Side of Dark Comedy Blog Visits Other Online Resources Are YOU Going to Scarborough Fair? Suggested Reading Tim King's Post Christian Blog The Dylan Mass If You Are In Distress, Spiritual or Otherwise pending The Great Tradition properly conceived Postmodern Conservative Catholic Pentecostal

as modern Catholic teaching in sexual morality. Neither are there any such things as credibility and transparency regarding same, neither among the faithful nor in secular society. On the surface, there are value-realization strategies available under the old methodologies that could impart hope to all on many diverse issues pertaining both to gender and to sexual behaviors. For starters, we could more broadly conceive the definitions of such values as procreativity and complementarity, such that they are not so physicalistic, realizing that there are manifold other ways to celebrate being created cocreators and to realize unitive values. We could draw a distinction between generative functions and life issues (Cf. Haring's thought) and then establish a parvity of value for sexual moral objects, such that masturbation would not be as serious as murder, for example. We could draw a distinction between our essentialistic idealizations and their very problematical existential realizations and thus cut homosexuals some "pastoral sensitivity slack" as was done with married couples vis a vis the rhythm method. The problem is, however, that there needs to be a wholesale paradigm shift from the old methodologies to the new, wherein some old terms and definitions and logics will receive new vitality while others will be revealed as meaningless, incommensurable and incoherent. (It is beyond my present scope to suggest which terms and logics will suffer or enjoy which fate, but I have my sneaking suspicions regarding "intrinsic disorder.") Accordingly, as we look for guidance in our value-realization strategies pertaining to gender and sexual behavior, employing a much more robust historical consciousness, personalism and relationalityresponsibility model, I want to know why anyone should turn solely (or even first and foremost) to scripture, tradition and the magisterium? Especially regarding moral realities, then, which are transparent to human reason, we must also turn to that aspect of the teaching office known as the sensus fidelium, and also must turn to reason (e.g. philosophy) and to experience (e.g. biological & behavioral sciences, individual testimonies). If we fail to make these moves and take these turns, we are failing to be either catholic or Catholic. Also, our arguments will lack

normative impetus in the Public Square, where we need more than "the Bible tells me so" or the Koran, as the case may be, to urge legislative remedies on the body politic. Below, in a series of related essays, I issue a challenge to all who remain on the fence regarding the hierarchical magisterium’s natural law interpretations of sex and gender issues. In the same way that Cardinal Bernardin once issued a clarion call for a consistent ethic of life, more popularly appropriated as the Seamless Garment of Life, in my view (and I’m neither academic nor
cleric), it is time we challenge the

church’s magisterium, both its hierarchical and sensus fidelium aspects, to a
consistent ethos of eros and to

a more integral approach to gender and sexuality. There are perhaps few issues that are so divisive in the church, polarizing Christendom, itself, often creating a crisis of faith as we fail to draw some important distinctions and fail to properly recognize which of these distinctions are or are not also dichotomies. When in doubt about an either/or question, the catholic, or both/and, approach is a good default. Why do we not better distinguish, then, dogma from doctrine from
discipline?

Why do we overemphasize the hierarchical at the expense of the sensus
fidelium aspect of the

magisterium? Why do we now allow or now disallow the use of probabilism?
proportionate reason?

Why do we employ updated methodologies in social justice theory but
outdated methodologies in gender &

sexuality doctrine? Why don’t we better distinguish accidentals from essentials in church
teaching?

Why don’t we recognize the difference between respect and submission in
the hierarchy of truth?

Why don’t we better distinguish between teachings that should be
transparent to human reason and those

requiring faith? Why don’t we better distinguish between, even, fear and joy? Why do we overemphasize some of the witnesses to revelation while
underemphasizing others, especially

the empirical and concrete, lived experiences of the faithful, indeed, of all
people of goodwill?

Why don’t we distinguish between limited dominion and no dominion in
certain natural law formulations?

Why don’t we establish a parvity of matter for sexual moral objects? Why don’t we better nuance procreativity and complementarity, more
broadly conceiving them beyond the

mere physicalistic? Why don’t we better distinguish between the moral and practical aspects
of prudential judgment?

Why don’t we better distinguish between private and public morality? Why don’t we better distinguish between moral and civil laws? Why don’t we better distinguish between ecclesial and legislative/judicial
matters, especially in pluralistic

societies? We must a) properly draw the above-listed distinctions, b) apply them to all moral objects consistently, c) listen to all witnesses of revelation, d) attend to all of the moments in each human act of value-realization, e) remain open to deontological, teleological, contractarian and aretaic
perspectives on f) relevant acts,

intentions and circumstances--- in every moral analysis. None of this represents my academic scholarship. There is not an original thought in any of this. It represents my attempt to square my profound intuitions from my existential experience as a spouse and father…… and son and brother and uncle and nephew and grandson and boyfriend and neighbor and coworker and parishioner and citizen and sinner and saint …… with that of the hierarchical teaching office, modern theologians and the rest of us anawim, the sensus
fidelium. And, sadly, it does not add up. I

really and truly do not get it. Jadot, Haring, Kung, Curran and a host of others
like Len Swidler and Ingrid

Shafer have, over the years, indeed grasped what I am getting at …… and so has Joan Chittister and the NCRCafe Family. To wit, then ……this is what I think is going on …… How would you like it if that happened to you? My fourth child, now a young man on the verge of adolescence, has always brought a great deal of sensitivity and tenderness to our family. From a young age, whenever he'd witness a tragedy on TV, he'd exclaim, for example, to no one in particular: "How would you like it if that happened to your house?!" One can substitute any noun, any person, place or thing, in place of the word "house," and you'll get my drift. His childhood angst remains palpable. Living in the New Orleans metro area will do that to one

nowadays. I think it was in one of Rahner's very first sermons, around 1946, that he noted that most people do not seem to experience a theodicy problem until tragedy overtakes them personally, this despite the fact that millions of "other" parents, each year, lose millions of "other" children, for example. I mention my son and Rahner's sermon as a backdrop to my acknowledgment of how out of touch I have often been with the depth of suffering of so many who have been marginalized in different ways by our churches and societies. Growing up in South Louisiana, I was sensitized to racial discrimination and am grateful that my conscience was properly formed by family and church in that regard. Regrettably, however, there is too much truth in one of my favorite jokes: "I was almost forty years old before I learned that not every serious sin is sexual!" That may sound like hyperbole but, realistically, possibilities for larceny, murder and heresy weren't really blips on my ethical radar screen (so, if I wanted permanent existential alienation from God, illicit sex was one of my only options, as I understood such things). I say all of this by way of admitting that, earlier on my journey, I simply did not seriously engage many church-related issues and enjoy any ensuing aha moments until those
issues overtook me, personally. For

example, only when I got married did I seriously look at the birth control issue. Only when I had to catechize children did I try to better understand what the church was trying to say regarding masturbation. Teachings on liturgical renewal, social justice and just war theory were stimulating and engaging, compelling even, for those of us coming of age in the sixties; a natural law discussion of homosexuality was not even interesting to me. Long story short, the more I dug into the underlying philosophy and metaphysics of the church's theology regarding gender and sexual behavior, prompted by my attempt to reconcile my own personal experiences and beliefs regarding same with that of the teaching office, the more it dawned on me that I had uncritically swallowed a doubtful perspective regarding other matters, too, especially such as celibacy, women's ordination, homosexual orientation and homoerotic behaviors. This realization was painful because certain

of my earlier responses to certain of my very good friends had been tremendously hurtful and the resulting long estrangement so very unnecessary. (This is NOT to say that my response at all squared with the church's supposedly sensitive pastoral guidance.) What could I say to my friends? How have I said it in so many ways? I am SO sorry. Forgive me; I did not know what I was doing. It was only in my attempt to free myself that I
opened the gates that would free you,

too. The Archbishop of Canterbury has been in town the past few days and the wounds of my past transgressions were feeling somewhat raw because of my again-raised consciousness regarding this divisive, almost schism-inducing misunderstanding. I am slowly learning to ask, more often: "How would you like it if that happened to you?" My Keys Unlock Your Shackles: Our Unwitting Kinship? It seems that gender and sexuality issues have broad implications. People need to be able to see and understand that the keys that unlocked their fundamentalist shackles regarding manifold moral doctrines and church disciplines are the very same keys that will free all who are marginalized, in this way or that, by such as the "intrinsic disorder question." If one group remains bound, all of us remains enslaved, this is to otherwise say, ipso facto ex-communicated. In philosophical discussions, I often found that many, who badly wanted to annihilate metaphysics and theology, ended up destroying modern science right along with those disciplines, which is to say that they sawed off the epistemological branches where their own ontological eggs were nested. Analogously, the same is true here. One cannot coherently reject the deontological foundations of such gender and sex doctrines and disciplines as regarding women priests, artificial contraception, masturbation and such while continuing to support this gravely "intrinsic disorder" position. Again, in my science and religion dialogue, I begin with a robust epistemology of science and then demonstrate how it similarly undergirds metaphysics (properly considered, anyway). Analogously, if one begins with a properly considered (robustly descriptively accurate), depthful and comprehensive theological anthropology, which undergirds all sex and gender issues vis a vis doctrine and discipline, then

this "intrinsic disorder" question is not answered but, rather, eliminated (as meaningless, incoherent). Our GLBT sisters and brothers have more friends vis a vis philosophical kinship than either they or their unwitting like-minded coreligionists may be aware? Submission or Respect? I like to think of liberal and conservative, progressive and traditionalist, in terms of charisms, something analogous to pilgrims and settlers. And there is room for the via media, the middle path, something analogous to bridge-builders, which might be the loneliest and most difficult for, as Richard Rohr observes, they get walked on by folks coming from both directions. Unfortunately, too much of what we see is nowadays is better described in terms of maximalism, minimalism and a/historicism. I'll unpack those terms below. Too many so-called progressives consider essential and core teachings as accidental and peripheral; too many socalled traditionalists consider accidental and peripheral teachings as essential and core. In essentials, unity; in accidentals, diversity; in all things, charity. (attributed to Augustine) Ormond Rush writes, in Determining Catholic Orthodoxy: Monologue or Dialogue (PACIFICA 12 (JUNE 1999): "The patristic scholar Rowan Williams speaks of 'orthodoxy as always lying in the future'". (See http://tinyurl.com/2p5q7w for the article) Rush continues: Mathematicians talk of an asymptotic line that continually approaches a given curve but does not meet it at a finite distance. Somewhat like those two lines, ressourcement and aggiornamento never meet; the meeting point always lies ahead of the church as it moves forward in history. Orthodoxy, in that sense, lies always in the future. Christian truth is eschatological truth. The church must continually wait on the Holy Spirit to lead it to the fullness of truth. Ressourcement and aggiornamento will only finally meet at that point when history ends at the fullness of time. “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.” (1 Cor 13:12) To unpack this meaning further, see:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ressourcement

In that Pacifica article, Rush draws distinctions between: 1) revelation as propositional, where faith is

primarily assent and revelation as personalist, where faith is the response of the whole person in loving self-surrender to God; 2) verbal orthodoxy and lived orthopraxy; 3) the Christological and pneumatological; 4) hierarchical ecclesiology and communio ecclesiology; and 5) monologic notion of authority evoking passive obedience and dialogic notion of authority evoking active obedience. Rush then describes the extremes of on one hand, 1) dogmatic maximalism, where all beliefs are given equal weight; 2) magisterial maximalism, where the ecclesial magisterium, alone, has access to the Holy Spirit; 3) dogmatic ahistoricism, where God's meaning and will are fixed and clear to be seen; and, on the other hand, 1) dogmatic minimalism, where all dogmatic statements are equally unimportant; 2) magisterial minimalism, where communal guidance in interpretation is superfluous; 3) dogmatic historicism, with an unmitigated relativist position regarding human knowledge. Rush finally describes and commends a VIA MEDIA between the positions. He notes that the church does not call the faithful that we may believe in dogma, doctrine and disciplines but, rather, to belief in God. He describes how statements vary in relationship to the foundation of faith vis a vis a Hierarchy of Truth and thus have different weight: to be believed as divinely revealed; to be held as definitively proposed; or as nondefinitively taught and requiring obsequium religiosum (see discussion below re: obsequium). The faithful reception of revelation requires interplay between the different "witnesses" of revelation: scripture, tradition, magisterium, sensus fidelium, theological scholarship, including reason (philosophy) and experience (biological & behavioral sciences, personal testimonies, etc). Rush thus asks: "How does the Holy Spirit guarantee orthodox traditioning of the Gospel? According to Dei Verbum, 'the help of the Holy Spirit' is manifested in the activity of three distinguishable yet overlapping groups of witnesses to the Gospel: the magisterium, the whole people of God, and theologians.

The Holy Spirit guides each group of witnesses in different ways and to different degrees; but no one alone has possession of the Spirit of Truth." Rush further asks: "The determination of orthodoxy needs to address questions concerning the issue of consensus in each of these three authorities. What constitutes a consensus among theologians and how is it to be ascertained? What constitutes a consensus among the one billion Catholics throughout the world and how is it to be ascertained? What constitutes a collegial consensus among the bishops of the world with the pope, and how is that consensus to be ascertained?" As for obsequium religiosum, from
http://www.womenpriests.org/teaching/orsy3_2.asp

where it is written: "Accordingly, the duty to offer obsequium may bind to respect, or to submission—or to any other attitude between the two." "When the council spoke of religious obsequium it meant an attitude toward the church which is rooted in the virtue of religion, the love of God and the love of his church. This attitude in every concrete case will be in need of further specification, which could be 'respect', or could be 'submission,' depending on the progress the church has made in clarifying its own beliefs. ... [W]e can speak of obsequium fidei (one with the believing church holding firm to a doctrine) ... [or] an obsequium religiosum (one with the searching church, working for clarification)." Thus, on matters of dogma, I give obsequium fidei, and unqualified assent (or submission); this includes the creeds, the sacraments, and the exegetical approach to scripture. On matters of moral doctrine and church discipline, I give my deference (or respect), even as I dissent, out of loyalty, on many issues: artificial contraception, married priests, women's ordination, divorce and remarriage, Eucharistic sharing, obligatory confession, various moral teachings re: so-called gravely, intrinsic disorders of human sexuality; etc. This is not unrelated then, re: dogma, doctrine and discipline, to this thread: http://ncrcafe.org/node/1362 Which Brings Up the Notion of Probabilism? A quote from Philip Kaufman: "As we shall see, reputable theologians defend positions on moral

issues contrary to the official teaching of the Roman magisterium. If Catholics have the right to follow such options, they must have the right to know that the options exist. It is wrong to attempt to conceal such knowledge from Catholics. It is wrong to present the official teachings, in Rahner's words, as though there were no doubt whatever about their definitive correctness and as though further discussion about the matter by Catholic theologians would be inappropriate....To deprive Catholics of the knowledge of legitimate choices in their moral decisionmaking, to insist that moral issues are closed when actually they are still open, is itself immoral." “Probabilism: The Right to Know of Moral Options”, the third chapter of __Why You Can Disagree and Remain a Faithful Catholic__ and available online at http://www.saintjohnsabbey.org/kaufman/chapter3.html The Human Experience of God and One Another I have leaned heavily on the thinking of folks like Dan Maguire, Richard McCormick, Richard McBrien, Charles Curran, Margaret Farley, Daniel Helminiak, Philip Kaufman, Bernard Haring and others. Sometimes, such thinking takes the hierarchy to task on its own terms, which is to say that some moral arguments continue to be formed in the same categories we have inherited from the same sterile scholasticism, the same outdated metaphysics and the same incomplete views of the normatively human. More significantly, though, folks like those listed above have broken open new categories of thought for me and have invited me to look at reality through entirely new perspectives. Our natural law tradition prides itself on its ability to derive the prescriptive from the descriptive despite the philosophical naysayers, who say we cannot journey from an is to an ought. We have a great tradition that thus displays much rigor in defining terms, employs much nuance when parsing statements, and requires much care in predication, all with much devotion to descriptive accuracy in our philosophical God-talk. Of course, ALL would agree that we must go beyond this natural theology in order to say "Jesus is Lord." We must also, somehow, enjoy a deeply intimate and profoundly personal God-encounter. That encounter must be ultimately & powerfully efficacious in being utterly transformative; that encounter must communicate

life and lead us to authenticity; that encounter is our personal experience of the transcendent energy that we associate with the Holy Spirit. How naive and rationalistic would our God-talk otherwise be if it was divorced from the human experience of God! Well, how naive and rationalistic our moral theology has been, divorced, as it remains, from our human experience of one another! I spent some time in a poverty think tank and sought out the 4th World Movement regarding radical poverty. What I learned from those in radical poverty was that, more than a crumb of bread or a sip of soup, what they most desired was a seat at the table of dialogue when their destiny was being determined. (By the way, the 4th World group I met with was headed by French "missionaries," a delightful married couple and their children, working with our radically poor in New Orleans. Yes, they came to the good old US of A ... and OUR poor.) Catholic moral theology remains divorced from the concrete, lived experiences of GLBT's, to be sure, and of women as women, and of married couples and others, because none of us have been included at the table of dialogue when our destinies have been determined. (Well, there was the Papal Commission on Birth Control but we all know the REST of that story.) It's just like talking about God without having an experience of God. It is so rationalistic, "a prioristic," biologistic, physicalistic, narrowly philosophical, parochialistic and a host of other -istics! That is why one can read JPII's Theology of the Body and come away feeling that he knew married love, from reading philosophy, about as intimately as I know Abraham Lincoln, from reading the encyclopedia. It is good that JPII aspired to a more phenomenological and personalist approach, but not good enough. There are more witnesses to revelation than scripture, tradition, the magisterium and philosophy. Other than the most general of precepts, that are transparent to human reason, grounded in the universal human condition and espoused by folks of every non/foundational persuasion, such as in the Declaration of Independence and the UN Declaration of Human Rights, there's not much more the hierarchy (or anyone else) can (or should) say, about morality, in general. We have to work

out the details on our own, in genuine dialogue and prayerful study. To restate and clarify, I mean to say that scripture, tradition & the magisterium/philosophy can only navigate us to the most general of moral precepts, such as those in the Declaration of Independence. For more specific guidance re: gender and sexuality we must draw from the sciences (biological and behavioral) and, most importantly, from concrete, lived experience, which is to say, personal testimony a/k/a WITNESS to revelation. In summary, we have long and often heard from SOME of the Witnesses to Revelation; however, we need badly to hear from ALL Witnesses to Revelation. This is even more true regarding the marriage of eros and ethos, which needs special recourse to the sensus fidelium; the concrete, lived experiences of the faithful; and modern biological and behavioral sciences. We must change our categories from the old "a prioristic," essentialistic, dyadic, substantialistic metaphysics to those that are more robustly social, relational, pragmatic, triadic, semiotic ... because human experience is extremely depthful (think imago Dei) and cannot be facilely handled by the old metaphysical categories. One cannot make a successful journey from the descriptive to the prescriptive vis a vis human authenticity if one is sorely lacking in descriptive accuracy! And that is what I continue to work on here: http://tinyurl.com/24r7dy The Witnesses to Revelation & New Methodologies Humans journey through life in pursuit of truth, beauty, goodness and unity. We realize these values through ongoing conversions, respectively, intellectual, affective, moral and social (Cf. Lonergan's thought). Our churches institutionalize these values, respectively, trough, creed, cult, code and community. As Catholics, we look for guidance in our value-realization strategies in the light of scripture, tradition, magisterium-sensus fidelium, reason (e.g. philosophy) and experience (e.g. biological & behavioral sciences, individual testimonies). In the old days, both our social justice and sexual morality teachings relied on approaches based in classicism, natural law and legalism. Nowadays, our social justice theory employs three new methodologies, respectively, historical consciousness, personalism and

relationality-responsibility (Cf. Curran's thought). Modern Catholic social justice teachings enjoy widespread credibility due to these updated methodologies, which are eminently transparent to human reason. There is, however, no such thing as modern Catholic teaching in sexual morality. Neither are there any such things as credibility and transparency regarding same, neither among the faithful nor in secular society. On the surface, there are value-realization strategies available under the old methodologies that could impart hope to all on many diverse issues pertaining both to gender and to sexual behaviors. For starters, we could more broadly conceive the definitions of such values as procreativity and complementarity, such that they are not so physicalistic, realizing that there are manifold other ways to celebrate being created cocreators and to realize unitive values. We could draw a distinction between generative functions and life issues (Cf. Haring's thought) and then establish a parvity of value for sexual moral objects, such that masturbation would not be as serious as murder, for example. We could draw a distinction between our essentialistic idealizations and their very problematical existential realizations and thus cut homosexuals some "pastoral sensitivity slack" as was done with married couples vis a vis the rhythm method. The problem is, however, that there needs to be a wholesale paradigm shift from the old methodologies to the new, wherein some old terms and definitions and logics will receive new vitality while others will be revealed as meaningless, incommensurable and incoherent. (It is beyond my present scope to suggest which terms and logics will suffer or enjoy which fate, but I have my sneaking suspicions regarding “intrinsic disorder.”) Accordingly, as we look for guidance in our value-realization strategies pertaining to gender and sexual behavior, employing a much more robust historical consciousness, personalism and relationalityresponsibility model, I want to know why anyone should turn solely (or even first and foremost) to scripture, tradition and the magisterium. Especially regarding moral realities, then, which are transparent to human reason, we must also turn to that aspect of the teaching office known as the sensus fidelium, and also

must turn to reason (e.g. philosophy) and to experience (e.g. biological & behavioral sciences, individual testimonies). If we fail to make these moves and take these turns, we are failing to be either catholic or Catholic. Also, our arguments will lack normative impetus in the Public Square, where we need more than “the Bible tells me so” or the Koran, as the case may be, to urge legislative remedies on the body politic. Motivated by Fear or Joy? This issue, for me, brings to mind so many distinctions, such as between 1) natural and moral joy 2) secular and religious conversions 3) eros and agape and 4) obligational and aspirational. And these distinctions further bring to mind such dynamics as i) Bernardian love ii) Ignatius' Degrees of Humility iii) developmental dynamics in psychology, like those of Kohlberg (moral), Fowler (faith) and Piaget (cognitive). Here's an example of how those distinctions and dynamics interact for me. Long ago now, I gave this serious thought from a parenting perspective vis a vis what might or might not be "developmentally appropriate" for my children at different ages. Once one's been seduced by the Heavenly Suitor and comes to believe that it is only because He is such a gentleman and only because He'd never force His Love on anyone that some concept of estrangement is theologically necessary, then 7734 (or Hades) becomes moreso a required logical possibility of an authentic relationship calculus than a threatening existential probability. So, I had to decide whether or not I would allow my children to believe that a) meat on Friday b) messing around with their girlfriends on Saturday c) missing Mass on Sunday or d) masturbating on Monday would, perhaps, like d) murder on Tuesday, e) so mortally damage their relationship with God by Wednesday that, f) if they died accidentally on Thursday, they'd g) share a cell with Mussolini for Eternity (assuming he didn't get off on a technicality, himself, being exculpable due, for instance, to an improperly formed conscience, you know, like the one I was considering gifting to my children just to best hedge their own heavenly bets). Stated as an oversimplification, I truly struggled with how to balance fear and love in their formation. After

all, early in moral development, reward and punishment DO figure prominently, and the obligational often must take hold to properly prepare the way for one's eventual discovery of the aspirational. We know, too, that is heresy to deny a role for eros even as we strive to learn agape, for, as the Act of Contrition makes clear, imperfect contrition is both necessary AND sufficient as we "detest all our sins because of Thy just punishment" and, perhaps, just maybe, "most of all because I have offended Thee, my God, Who art all good." There is a parallel, here, to Bernardian Love: 1) love of self for sake of self 2) love of God for sake of self 3) love of God for sake of God and 4) love of self for sake of God. Also, in the Degrees of Humility in Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises, whereby we 1) would not want to gravely offend God because of the consequences we'd thus suffer 2) would not want to even venially offend God because He is so deserving of our love and 3) not only would we want to neither gravely nor venially offend God, we want to imitate Him in every way possible. In a nutshell, then, once having chosen Love over Fear as the primary motivator, both in the catechesis and in the moral development of my children, once deemphasizing both the "carrot" of heaven and the "stick" of hell, a certain question may be left begging regarding just WHY would one choose this course of action versus that. And the answer lies in the distinction between extrinsic and intrinsic rewards. It is intrinsically rewarding to follow the Jesuit motto of AMDG or ad majorem Dei gloriam, which is to say, to give God the greatest possible glory. And, very often, it may be that God receives the greatest possible glory when one's right hand does not even know what one's left hand is doing, for example, when one is being unconsciously competent vis a vis the life of the Spirit, when one is exercising one's implicit faith having never heard the Gospel, when one does what is right with no expectation of either an earthly or heavenly reward. I do very much believe that our church communities are founded to give God the greatest possible glory and that they are intended to optimally institutionalize all conversions --- intellectual, affective, moral, sociopolitical and religious --- thru creed, cult, code and community,

ttthru all the ways you listed, THUS best enabling us to ENJOY faith, hope, love and peace, consciously and competently, in the now and awareness, with love and benevolence, in honesty and truth, in the Name of God. So, while our inclusivistic theocentrism recognizes the salvation of all people who lead the good and moral life and of others who are exculpable and yet others whose destiny is known to God alone, I have to believe that our unique contribution to the Public Square is to offer all the manifold and multiform consolations others might thus receive from being witnessed to (via personal experience) regarding the reality of the Good News: we are eternally Beloved. As witnesses, then, if necessary, we can even use our tongues and keyboards to share this Good News. Of course, St. Francis reminds us that evangelization does not require our tongues as often as we might tend to believe. I have, nonetheless, often thought that, not being privy to the actual collective stage of moral development of this church community or that, perhaps I should take some comfort in the notion that maybe even millions still attend Church, Mosque or Synagogue on Sabbath for fear of going to Hell. After all, if it is moral judgment that thus motivates them moreso than moral joy, then I positively shudder to imagine what horrendous atrocities they would otherwise commit in our communities absent the threat of eternal hellfire. Maybe it is the realist approach to pastoral sensitivity that keeps our hierarchies focused on judgment and not joy? I do not write this with tongue fully in cheek. I can only say that my children are pretty good people in spite of me. Another point that I did not state explicitly is that there are different stages of faith development and different levels of moral development and different levels of spiritual attainment and that our church communities, optimally, should accommodate them all. Things like imperfect contrition and love of God for sake of self, however minimalistic, do meet the criteria of being both necessary and sufficient for salvation. Another way of saying this is that the Old Covenant still works. What is poignantly sad is that we are invited to a whole other level of intimacy and many settle for less. The purgative is both necessary and sufficient but, still, the illuminative and unitive beckon. Same applies to the Degrees of Humility,

Bernardian love and all other stage paradigms, both psychological and spiritual. The invitation is there --- to travel beyond. Parvity of Matter – Limited Dominion or None? There is a philosophical concept called "parvity of matter" that deals with how serious, how grave, how weighty this or that sin or dis-order, moral or pre-moral, may be. Even if the church's natural law interpretations were not too biologistic and physicalistic, which they are, and even if the church properly and more broadly conceived the procreative and unitive values of sex, which it does not, still, a problem would persist in that the church does not recognize a parvity of matter regarding sex. All sexual sins are equally grave, serious, weighty, or, in a word, mortal. How did the church ever come to equate contracepting couples, masturbating adolescents and homosexual eroticism with such a grave immoral action such as murder? Essentially, the church's stance toward our human generative faculties is that we have NO dominion of such biological functions. This differs from its stance of LIMITED dominion in the art and science of medicine. Supposedly, this differs because our generative faculties involve sacred human life, itself. At least this is a reasonable inference from Paul VI's interpretation of Pope John's encyclical Mater et Magistra. Bernard Haring countered this reasoning because it employed unequal members in comparison of the absolute sacredness of human life with a supposed absolute sacredness of biological laws and rhythms. Richard McBrien describes the natural law theory of those who support the traditional teaching: "It is a concept of nature as something so mysterious and sacred, they maintain, that any human intervention tends to destroy rather than to perfect this very nature. Because of this mentality, many advances in medical science were prohibited for a time, and the same was true for other areas of scientific experimentation." The majority theologians on the papal commission would thus counter this: "The dignity of the human person consist in this, that God wished man to SHARE in His dominion ... ... In the course of his life man must attain his perfection in difficult and adverse conditions, he must accept the consequences of his responsibility, etc Therefore, the dominion of God is exercised through man, who can use nature for his

own perfection according to the dictates of right reason." Finally, even if the church's narrow conceptualizations of procreative and unitive values were correct, even if its lack of parvity of matter for sex was correct, and even if its "no dominion " approach to generative biological functions was correct, still, following its own doctrine of original sin, it could properly exercise a great deal more compassion and pastoral sensitivity by applying its traditional realist approach to the human condition over against any overemphasis of essentialistic moral idealizations at the expense of our ever-faltering and always-feeble existential realizations of such values. In other words, there are a LOT of ways to justify a much more loving embrace of our homosexual sisters and brothers and, yes, even those who are "practicing." Here are some thoughts of real theologians in case, as a lowly layman, I am perceived as too far out of my league: 1) Nowadays, however, the spouse of Christ prefers to make use of the medicine of mercy rather than that of severity. She considers that she meets the needs of the present day by demonstrating the validity of her teaching rather than by condemnations. Pope John XXIII, from his Opening Address of Vatican II 2) But it is in fact also part of the tragic and impenetrable historicity of the Church that in practice and theory it defended moral precepts with bad arguments, based on problematic, historically conditioned preconceptions, "prejudgments," which it did not itself abandon but which other historical causes eliminated; only then did the Church finally find the new conviction obvious and (unfortunately) proceeded to act is if the new global conviction was obvious and the Church had never had any doubts about it. Karl Rahner, S.J. "On Bad Arguments in Moral Theology," Theological Investigations XVIII, 1984. p. 79. 3) The specific role of the theologians] calls them to explore the implications of Church teach, to investigate it, to refine it, to probe it, to push back its horizons. If not all Church teaching is guaranteed to be infallible, then some of it could be fallible, reformable, conceivably even incorrect. It is part of the theologian's responsibility to speak to Church teaching which he or she conscientiously believes to be

inexact or erroneous. Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk (former head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops) in his Pastoral Letter on Dissent to the Cincinnati Archdiocese, 6 June 1986. Reported in Origins 16:9 (31 July 1986), p. 177. 4) The magisterium of the Church, cannot propose moral norms until it is certain of interpreting the will of God. And to reach this certainty the Church is not dispensed from research and from examining the many questions proposed for her consideration from every part of the world. This is at times a long and not an easy task. Pope Paul VI AAS 58 [1966]: 219. 5) Opposition is not inconsistent with solidarity. The one who voices his opposition to the general or particular rules or regulations of the community does not thereby reject his membership; he does not withdraw his readiness to act and to work for the common good. Karol Cardinal Wojtyla [John Paul II], The Acting Person [Osoba i Czyn] (1969). And, perhaps my favorite pertinent quote: 6) In the process of assimilating what is really rational and rejecting what only seems to be rational, the whole Church has to play a part. This process cannot be carried out in every detail by an isolated Magisterium, with oracular infallibility. The life and suffering of Christians who profess their faith in the midst of their times has just as important a part to play as the thinking and questioning of the learned, which would have a very hollow ring without the backing of Christian existence, which learns to discern spirits in the travail of everyday life. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. "Magisterium of the Church, Faith, Morality." In Curran and McCormick. Readings in Moral Theology, No. 2., p.186. Moral Law vs. Civil Law? Private vs. Public Morality? By what criteria might we evaluate and critique the July 2003 Vatican statement opposing proposals to give legal recognition to same-sex unions? (This is a distinct consideration, of course, from any sacramental angle or consideration re: ecclesial blessings.) Specifically, while the church should weigh in with its own views, when should it demand, or refrain from demanding, particular legislative and judicial responses?

Is this an issue of private or public morality? Is this a moral issue or a civil law issue? Does prudential judgment, which has both moral and practical components, support the law's effectiveness and enforceability? Will the law support minimal public morality (not moralizing excessively, inviting contempt and defeating its purpose) and peace and justice? Does it meet the norm of generally accepted standards? Will the law infringe religious freedom? The above questions are generic and drawn from my reading of John CourtneyMurray. In this thread, we have drawn several other analogies to the contraception debate in trying to shed light on the church's teachings and admonitions regarding this "intrinsic disorder question." As I began to research this question, I came across a blog where this new angle had already been well explored. I commend it to all: "John Courtney Murray and the Legal Recognition of Homosexual Unions" and have created a url to access it: http://tinyurl.com/26x3cq Here are 2 excerpts: 1) But what about legal recognition of homosexual unions? Is the Murray argument valid in this case? I believe it may well be. Homosexual behavior is clearly a matter of private, rather than public morality. Legal recognition of homosexual unions does not rise to the standard defined by John Paul in Evangelium Vitae, as it clearly does not threaten a fundamental right. In this vein, conservative writer George Weigel noted clearly that contraception is a matter of "conjugal morality and the sixth commandment" while abortion is a matter of "public justice and the fifth commandment". But using this taxonomy, homosexuality is also dealt with in the Catechism under the auspices of chastity and the sixth commandment. It tilts towards the contraception, not the abortion, camp. 2) The CDF worries about homosexual unions encouraging "erroneous ideas" about sexuality and marriage-- the exact same charge can be leveled against artificial contraception. Even worse, the change in attitudes had an impact on abortion. It is by now a well-established argument that the legalization of contraception was the first step in a chain that led directly to legalized abortion. So, in a sense, the effects on public morality from legalized contraception were far worse than

would be the case from recognizing homosexual unions. And yet Murray's argument still holds sway. For a more exhaustive analysis of the JCM methodology, I commend Gregory A. Kalscheur, S.J.'s "John Paul II, John CourtneyMurray, and the Relationship Between Civil Law and Moral Law: A Constructive Proposal for Contemporary American Pluralism," which one can download here: http://www.mirrorofjustice.com/mirrorofjustice/files/civillawtomorallaw.pdf Kalscheur concludes: "Evangelium Vitae’s call for a necessary conformity of the civil law to the moral law can play a constructive role in public policy discourse so long as the claims of the moral law are presented in a way that is publicly accessible and intelligible." Why the Silence Regarding this Elephant in the Room of Catholicism on Sex & Gender? Below are excerpts from Patrick McCormick's "Catholicism & Sexuality: The Sounds of Silence" available at http://tinyurl.com/2g2zvc McCormick identifies the inconsistencies in the hierarchical magisterium's use of 1) proportionate reason in analyzing some moral realities but not others 2) new methodologies in social justice theory but not sexual morality. He describes 3) the lack of support from the sensus fidelium 4) the unwillingness to dialogue by the hierarchy and 5) its disregard for empirical evidence in the form of people's concrete lived experiences. McCormick also describes in great detail the "sounds of silence" from 6) Bishops, 7) Theologians, 8) Pastors and 9) Women and the underlying causes of the silence. These numbers, above, correspond to the numbered excerpts below (1 thru 9). In an editorial, "Brokeback Church," he addresses the "intrinsic disorder" fallacy at length. See: http://tinyurl.com/2lplxc 1) Within the church there can be debate about or exceptions to official positions on the use of nuclear weapons, capital punishment or economic sanctions, but not contraception, sterilization, or abortion. Proportionate reason may be used to justify the indirect killing of thousands of women and children, but not masturbation to secure a husband's sperm for artificial insemination. 2) As many have noted, Rome has long approached matters of social and sexual ethics differently, admitting the moral ambiguity and complexity of political, economic

and military questions and making room for respectful disagreement with specific judgments, while demanding a strict obedience to absolute sexual norms. [a] 3) Numerous studies indicate that only a tiny fraction (10-13 percent) of contemporary American Catholics continue to support the Church's ban on birth control, and that a majority (usually large) disagree with official teachings on divorce, sterilization, masturbation, pre-marital sex, abortion, celibacy and women's ordination. And only a fifth of American Catholics believe that final authority to determine the morality of homosexual relations should be given to the magisterium. [b] 4) Still, in spite of a growing chasm between what the official church teaches and what the "People of God" believe, the church's magisterium has refused to allow or engage in meaningful conversations about questions of sex and gender. Repeated calls for dialogue have fallen on deaf hierarchical ears and continue to be met with a stony silence, commands to discontinue debate on a list of sexual topics (including birth control, priestly celibacy and women's ordination), and/or accusations of disloyalty.[c] 5) The Catholic Theological Society of America responded to this deepening crisis by attempting to foster a serious conversation about Human Sexuality, one that would attend to biblical, theological, and historical sources as well as empirical evidence gathered from people's lived experience. But the U.S. bishops and the Vatican criticized and condemned the ensuing report, ultimately forcing its withdrawal from publication, in large part for its focus on empirical evidence. [d] 6) More than twenty years ago Richard McCormick noted the selfimposed silence of bishops on disputed sexual issues and reported that he had been told of a hundred U.S. bishops who privately dissented from official teaching on sterilization, but would not do so publicly. (Certainly the numbers would be higher on the intrinsic evil of contraception.) "It is a known fact," McCormick wrote, "that bishops do not feel free to speak their true minds. When they do so, great pressures are brought to bear on them."[e] 7) No one knows how many theologians have decided they cannot risk losing a job or a promotion or tenure over a single article on reproductive technologies or a public letter on homosexuality or women's

ordination. And no one knows how many graduate students decide not to study moral theology at all because there are just too many things it's not safe to write about. As Patrick notes in writing about the chilling effect of the Vatican's action against Charles Curran, "And although other theologians who share his positions have not yet suffered such disciplinary action, their research and teaching have been affected, if only by prudent self-censorship."[f] 8) Bishops and academic theologians are sometimes remote from the lived experience of Catholics in the pews, and from the sexual issues that concern and disturb them. And neither the local ordinary nor the academic is as widely listened to by the laity as they might wish to think. For the vast majority of Catholics, pastors and pastoral ministers are their regular and critical point of contact with the Church and its teachings, and the silence of these ministers on sex and gender issues may be more troubling in the concrete. 9) The silencing of women shows up in the magisterium's continued unwillingness to engage in open conversation about issues critical to women, in the opposition to consulting the voices and experience of women on these matters, and in the use of often severe sanctions against religious women who question the hierarchy's defense of patriarchy and its absolute proscriptions of certain sexual practices. [a] Patrick, Liberating Conscience, 40-41; Curran, Tensions in Moral Theology, 87-109. [b] William V. D'Antonio, James D. Davidson, Dean R. Hoge and Ruth A.Wallace, Laity, American and Catholics: Transforming the Church (Kansas City, MO: Sheed and Ward, 1996) 27, 49-63; D'Antonio, "American Catholic Laity," 12 (Table 3); Greeley, American Catholics Since the Council, 81-87; Richard A. McCormick, S.J., The Critical Calling: Reflections on Moral Dilemmas Since Vatican II (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 1989) 273-274. [c] D'Antonio et al, Laity, American and Catholic, 15. [d] D'Antonio et al, Laity, American and Catholic, 44-45. [e] McCormick, The Critical Calling, 75. [f] Patrick, Liberating Conscience, 137 Often in Error, Seldom in Doubt That God may be more glorified and His people more sanctified, that

we might run the race more quickly and with less hindrance, the truth of the Gospel, as articulated in the Creed and celebrated in the Sacraments, has been proclaimed to all the world by many faithful witnesses to and servants of Special Divine Revelation, indeed, including the Servant of Servants. That ALL may attain salvation, freedom from both death and sin, even without the awareness or hearing of Special Revelation, the Holy Spirit has been placed in ALL hearts that ALL might know right from wrong, and, through the Holy Spirit, then, ALL persons of goodwill, who live morally upright lives, are indeed saved. And that is why, when we speak anagogically and creedaly about what we both hope for and believe, the Gospel is indispensable. And that is why, when we speak morally about what one must do, we need not couch our reasons in terms of special revelation (and best not in the public square, where it lacks normative impetus) but, instead, should voice our appeals in terms and with logic that are transparent to human reason. And I DO believe and I DO trust that the Holy Spirit guides such moral deliberations of all people of goodwill, FALLIBLE though we are in such matters (me and JPII, for starters), this over against any fundamentalist magisterial maximalism (defined elsewhere in this thread). The hierarchical aspect of the teaching office has had no small degree of difficulty in translating its moral teachings into terms and logic clearly transparent to human reason. If this has been painfully true in its dialogue with the sensus fidelium aspect of the teaching office, then how much more true has it been for modern humankind?! This thread precisely explores the manifold and multiform reasons for such disconnects. It is not useful, then, to piously mumble or fervently urge a mindless submission to any moral authority absent accompanying compelling arguments made in the lingua franca of universal epistemic, aesthetic and moral human sensibilities and human reason. Such a pusillanimous and obsequious fundamentalist mindset is dangerous and is the same type that would have its children fly airplanes into skyscrapers, had it been born in a different time or place.

There is more to building an upright and mature conscience and to ongoing intellectual, affective, moral, sociopolitical and religious conversion than simply trusting this or that parochial figurehead. At least there had better be. That consideration takes us away from the scope of this thread. And I am very, very earnest and very, very concerned about all this, especially as evidenced in the rising tide of fundamentalism in all churches. And I even see an insidious Enlightenment fundamentalism rising in the so-called "Brights" like Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins and their scientistic ilk. To some extent, I understand and empathize with such fundamentalism as we continue to live in uncertain times and as many long for quick and easy answers for every aspect of their lives, unable to tolerate ambiguity or to live with paradox, unable to see the wisdom in uncertainty, badly needing to rush to closure on every mystery, large or small, rather than, like Mary, pondering these things in our hearts. What we are doing, then, is running away from the Cross, when we chase after easy answers and chase away paradox, ambiguity and uncertainty, often in error but seldom in doubt.

____________________________________________________________ _________________ We must change our categories (or at least go beyond if not without them)
from the old "a prioristic,"

essentialistic, dyadic, substantialistic metaphysics to those that are more robustly social, relational, pragmatic, triadic, semiotic ... because human experience is extremely depthful (think imago Dei) and cannot be facilely handled by the old metaphysical categories. Human
value-realizations have never been a

matter of mere logical validity and soundness. They will always involve an interplay between human methodologies, faculties and sensibilities that are intellectually-related even if not logically-related. Truth has often flown in on the wings of beauty or goodness, such as in Occam's Razor, which is essentially an aesthetic appeal to elegance, a pragmatic appeal to facility. As Catholics, we look for guidance in our value-realization strategies in the light of scripture, tradition, magisterium-sensus fidelium, reason (e.g. philosophy and other methodologies) and experience (e.g. biological &
behavioral sciences, and individual

testimonies regarding our experiences as mediated by our various

faculties and sensibilities). In the old days, both our social justice and sexual morality teachings relied on approaches based in classicism, natural law and legalism. Nowadays, our social justice theory employs three new methodologies, respectively, historical consciousness, personalism and relationality-responsibility (Cf. Curran's thought). Modern Catholic social justice teachings enjoy widespread credibility due to these updated methodologies, which are eminently transparent to human reason. Sex & gender and other moral teachings lag seriously behind.

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Christian Nonduality

The Great Tradition properly conceived
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What might one mean by The Great Tradition? Some conceptions of the Great Tradition are too broad in some ways and too narrow in others. My categories work like this: Theological = Cosmological + Axiological, where the cosmological includes our descriptive science & normative philosophy and the axiological includes our evaluative cultural milieu & interpretive religious stance. This roughly maps over a perspectivalism such that the evidential = science, rational = philosophy, existential = cultural & presuppositional = interpretive. The only reason that our descriptive & interpretive realms do not wholly conflate is b/c we are radically finite & fallible. My Peircean rubric says that the normative mediates between the descriptive and the interpretive to effect the evaluative, or, alternatively, that the philosophic (rational) mediates between the scientific (evidential) and the religious (presuppositional) to effect the cultural (existential). Some Religious Epistemologies often seem to be saying that the Biblical mediates between the scientific and religious to effect our existential longings (ultimate concerns). What happens, then, is that some folk seem to think that the Great Tradition has something to say about the cosmological, about science and philosophy, for example about anthropology. In my view, this too broadly conceives the Great Tradition, which has only to do with our axiological concerns. The Great Tradition shapes and influences the answers to our questions: What's it to me? (evaluatively & existentially) and How's all of this tie back together? or re-ligate (interpretively & presuppositionally)? It does not attempt to answer the questions: What is that? or Is that a fact? (descriptively & evidentially) or How can I best avoid or acquire that? (normatively or philosophically or ethically or morally). Special revelation is not required for a human to live the good and moral life. (I'm not denying that it might not otherwise allow us to run the good race more swiftly and with less hindrance as it transvalues all of our value pursuits.) More concretely, then, the Great Tradition has nothing to reveal to us about anthropology such as regarding the nature of the soul or the history of the species. It does not rely on one metaphysic or ontology vs another and does not help us adjudicate such questions. For example, it does not tell us which theory of atonement is better, the classical theory of an ontological rupture located in the past or the Scotistic view of a teleological striving oriented toward the future. Presently, the evidence seems to support Scotus (the Franciscans) and Teilhard?

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Axiologically, however, the Great Tradition is often being conceived much too narrowly. Mere Christianity is WAY more than creedal formulations. Creeds, in my view, are secondary propositional articulations that grew out of our primary participatory celebrations (cf Jamie Smith). There is more to be had from the retrieval of songs, hymns, stories, letters, rituals and such and a more robust semiotic grasp of what they conveyed in the way of truth articulated, beauty celebrated, goodness preserved and unity enjoyed vis a vis the primary encounter of a People Gathered and properly understood. The participatory understanding narratively precedes the propositional formulation. As it is, these propositional formulations in creeds are too heavily encrusted in cosmological speculations and there is a danger in overemphasizing them because there is a tendency to take some of these cosmological accretions and to consider them essentials when they are not even accidentals but, instead, somewhat irrelevant, even.
pending pending

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Christian Nonduality

Hesychasm
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About Hesychasm quote: In the Byzantine East, the hesychast tradition had a tremendous influence, and found a powerful interpreter in Gregory Palamas in the 14th century. Palamas, the most influential Greek Orthodox theologian of the Middle Ages, taught that the most effective way to increase our awareness, integrate body and soul, and open ourselves to God is to attend to our breathing. In The Triads in Defense of the Holy Hesychasts, Gregory described the process of pure prayer beyond words or thoughts or concepts and advised his students what to expect. The first step is to enter into our own body, not to flee from it. While this is very difficult at the beginning, with repeated effort in time attention to breathing gathers together the mind that has been dissipated and produces inner detachment and freedom. For Palamas, this activity is not itself grace (although it might better be conceived in degrees of cooperation and participation and not in either/or terms), but he tells us that God works in and through the body and soul together to communicate supernatural gifts. As long as we have not experienced this transformation, we believe that the body is always driven only by corporeal and material passions. In language that is at times similar to the Buddhist tradition, Palamas tells us that theoretical knowledge cannot grasp this transformation. Only experience can convince a person that another form of life, free from the incessant domination of desire, is possible. Apatheia, the fruit of

Presuppositionalism vs Nihilism? Science Epistemic Virtue Pan-semioentheism: a pneumatological theology of nature Architectonic Anglican - Roman Dialogue The Ethos of Eros Musings on Peirce Eskimo Kiss Waltz the Light Side of Dark Comedy Blog Visits Other Online Resources Are YOU Going to Scarborough Fair? Suggested Reading Tim King's Post Christian Blog The Dylan Mass If You Are In Distress, Spiritual or Otherwise pending The Great Tradition properly conceived Postmodern Conservative Catholic Pentecostal

prayer, is not the deadening of feeling, but that stillness and openness that

frees us from self-concern and allows us to redirect our natural energies toward serving others. Through prayer and the grace of God, every aspect of ourselves is transformed and crowned with virtue. http://monasticdialog.com/a.php?id=771 quote: In solitude and retirement the Hesychast repeats the Jesus Prayer, "Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner." The Hesychast prays the Jesus Prayer 'with the heart'—with meaning, with intent, 'for real' (see ontic). He never treats the Jesus Prayer as a string of syllables whose 'surface' or overt verbal meaning is secondary or unimportant. He considers bare repetition of the Jesus Prayer as a mere string of syllables, perhaps with a 'mystical' inner meaning beyond the overt verbal meaning, to be worthless or even dangerous. This emphasis on the actual, real invocation of Jesus Christ marks a divergence from Eastern forms of meditation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hesychast quote: Orthodox Tradition warns against seeking ecstasy as an end in itself. Hesychasm is a traditional complex of ascetical practices embedded in the doctrine and practice of the Orthodox Church and intended to purify the member of the Orthodox Church and to make him ready for an encounter with God that comes to him whenand if God wants, through God's Grace. The goal is to acquire, through purification and Grace, the Holy Spirit and salvation. Any ecstatic states or other unusual phenomena which may occur in the course of Hesychast practice are considered secondary and unimportant, even quite dangerous. Moreover, seeking after unusual 'spiritual' experiences can itself cause great harm, ruining the soul and the mind of the seeker. Such a seeking after 'spiritual' experiences can lead to spiritual delusion (Ru. prelest, Gr. plani)—the antonym of sobriety http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hesychast So, the emphasis here is on experience of God, a knowledge that goes beyond the propositional. There is an emphasis on freedom here, on increasing freedom, and thereby love. This is very Buddhist in some ways but differs in being very relational and personal and not, rather, empty. Now, read below about the distinction between God's essence and energies, and our experience of God's uncreated energies. quote: Abiding In The Indwelling Trinity by George A. Maloney Excerpt - on Page 3: " ... Their loving presence as personalized relations of uncreated energies of love surrounds us, permeates us, bathes us constantly in their great loving communication ... " Mystical Theology: The Science of Love byWilliam Johnston Excerpt - on Page 61: " ... distinction between the divine essence and the divine energies. This is closely related to his theology of light; for the uncreated energies are energies of light and of love. ... "

InWhomWe Live and Move and Have Our Being: Panentheistic Reflections on God's Presence in a ScientificWorld by Philip Clayton Excerpt - " ... to the uncreated energies of God, as well as trinitarian interpretations and the whole project of process theology. ... " The Foundations of Christian Bioethics by H. Tristram Engelhardt Jr. Excerpt - " ... is solved and the door found in the horizon of immanence: Christianity's disclosure of an immediate experi- ence of the uncreated energies of a radically transcendent, personal God. Here philosophical solutions and theological truth coincide: the truth is a Who." I like to draw a soteriological distinction between a) what must we do to be saved and b) what can we do to give God the greatest possible glory. Insofar as I largely conceive of the journey in terms of an aesthetic teleology, both for me and for the cosmos, the Jesuit motto --- ad majorem Dei gloriam [AMDG], is close to my heart. In fact, that soteriological distinction is really the same as that drawn by Ignatius in the Spiritual Exercises, where he sets forth his Degrees of Humility. In a nutshell, my rough paraphrasing: 1) we wouldn't want to ever offend God grievously 2) we wouldn't ever want to offend God even venially 3) not only would we never want to offend God in the least, we truly want to even imitate Christ even in His manner of suffering. Truth be known, in my heterodoxy, I believe in apopkatastasis, or universal salvation, with some nuance. I allow for the theoretical possibility of eternal separation from God only because I believe that God so loves us and respects our free will (which is indispensable for authentic love) that God would never coerce us into a relationship. At the same time, from a practical perspective, God's love and seductive appeal is so very efficacious, it is difficult for me to conceive of anyone holding out forever. I think it is apparent how these themes interweave. The answers to What must I do? and What must I do to be saved? have already been giving humankind before religion arrives on the scene. All men of goodwill are already in touch with the law written on every person's heart and in a position "to be saved" even without being imputed invincible ignorance, even without being considered Christians, anonymous or not. God so loved the world that soteriological issues have already been settled. This is a pneumatological truth many already recognize, hidden though it may be by various theospeak obfuscations. Back to my soteriological distinction, from a practical perspective, what religions bring to humanity's table are answers to such questions as What can we do to give God the greatest possible glory? and prescriptions for such as imitating Christ. Religions speak with authority to what it is we can hope for. And their coin of the realm is not the propositional truth of the theoretical, heuristic and normative sciences, which rely most heavily on inferential aspects of our integral act of knowing (although religion must properly defer to the answers we get in those foci of concern). The coin of the religious realm is that of truth in relationship, which includes assent, deference (obsequium), trust, fidelity, loyalty, love, forgiveness and such. The values to be augmented and realized in this realm as we amplify the epistemic risks we are willing to take are intrinsic and our commitments to them are

unconditional and do not lend themselves to formal construction. Intrinsic values involve a different calculus than extrinsic, perspectival and relational values. The beauty is ineffable and infuses all of the other foci of human concern with such a significance as can only properly be considered tran-significantly and only celebrated ritualistically as transignification and Eucharist. Heart speaks to heart. And the heart has its reasons. And I say all this by way of suggesting that, in affirming right speech, in searching for the most nearly perfect articulation of the truth, toward the end of AMDG, I positively affirm a normative Christology. This is the locus at which it comes to play regarding both what we can hope for and Whom we can trust with such answers. But AMDG and right speech re: our hopes are not soteriological issues. For distinctly soteriological issues, I must affirm, rather, a normative pneumatology. Thus Ignatius' Degrees of Humility set forth rather substantive distinctions. As I have observed, mostly from a distance, the discussions of nonduality over the years, my lingering impression, to put it most succinctly, is that confusion tends to reign whenever epistemological observations get extrapolated into ontological conclusions. By epistemological, I mean all the different categories that people use for describing how it is that we think we know what it is we might know. Some of these are: 1) sensation 2) thinking 3) intuition and 4) feeling; 1) descriptive 2) prescriptive 3) evaluative and 4) interpretive; 1) memory 2) understanding 3) will; 1) cognitive 2) affective 3) instinctual; 1) subjective 2) objective 3) intersubjective 4) interobjective; 1) positivist - science 2) philosophic 3) theistic 4) theotic; 1) empirical 2) rational 3) practical 4) relational; 1) apophatic 2)kataphatic 3) affective 4) speculative; and so on and so forth, some more psychological, some more philosophical, some categories a blend of such categories. It is also my belief that, in large measure, our epistemological faculties are geared toward distinctly human value-realizations and therefore correspond, at least roughly, to the values of 1) truth 2) beauty 3) goodness and 4)unity, which, for example, religions express in 1) creed 2) cult 3) code and 4) community. As we move from one value-realization approach to the next, different of our epistemic faculties will seem to enjoy a primacy, which is to say that they will come to the fore in our experience. For example, during liturgy, in our cultivation of beauty, we may be at certain points, mostly affectively engaged. Or, when doing science, we may be moreso cognitively engaged, empirically focused. The important point, here, is that epistemic primacy doesn't imply epistemic autonomy. These different categories do represent different faculties which, for the most part, do correspond to different methodologies which are autonomous. For example, faith and reason are autonomous. Positivist sciences and normative sciences are autonomous. Apophatic encounters of reality and kataphatic encounters are distinct, are

autonomous. Our social-relational experiences that might inspire assent are autonomous from our empirical-rational engagements that might inspire speculation. Our practical approaches are autonomous from our theoretical speculations. To recognize that these approaches to reality are autonomous is to recognize that they involve radically different commitments in the form of value-realizations, pursuing truth, beauty, goodness or unity, for example, and that they employ radically different terms and categories, which is to recognize that they are not logically-related. The important point here is that just because our different epistemic faculties are not logically-related does not mean that they are not epistemically-related. And we know this, for example, from Helminiak's hierarchy of the positivist, philosophic, theistic and theotic foci of human concern, each which appropriates the other. And we know this from the way that faith relates to reason in fides et ratio. And we know this from Jungian psychology and Enneagram paradigms that relate the faculties of sensation, thinking, feeling and intuition to our cognitive, affective and instinctual levels. And we know this as we travel from the IS to the OUGHT, the given to the normative, the descritive to the prescriptive, in our natural law interpretations and moral reasoning. And we know this from our affirmation of such as Occam's Razor, where symmetry and beauty and facility guide us to truth. And we know this whenever it seems that truth comes flying in on the wings of beauty and goodness, uplifted by unity. The important point here is that just because these different epistemic faculties often enjoy a primacy in this or that valuerealization, just because they are methodologically autonomous, just because they are epistemically-related even if not logically-related, just because they are integrally-related, just because EACH IS NECESSARY in every human value-realization DOES NOT MEAN THAT ANY IS SUFFICIENT for an given value-realization. I suppose the practical upshot of what I am saying is that we cannot take these different epistemic faculties, which are indeed integrallyrelated and claim that they are otherwise somehow holonic. From evolutionary epistemology, we know that ours is an ecological rationality, which is to recognize that our different epistemic faculties, methodologies and sensibilities interact within various dialectical, trialectical and tetradilectical tensions to help navigate us toward every human valuerealization. Some seem to suggest that any given epistemic approach enjoys primacy, autonomy and sufficiency for all human value-realizations, by suggesting that the other approaches are, on this occasion or that, not necessary due to some holonic dynamism that allows them to somehow inhere each in the other. This is a fantastical claim and not borne out in human experience. It is a falsifiable claim. It leads to radical apophaticisms and gnostic arationalisms. The different epistemic faculties, methodologies and sensibilities that are integrally-related and holistically (NOT holonically)-engaged in every human value-realization, however otherwise autonomous, are all necessary, are none --- alone ---sufficient, and navigate us toward our realization of human values through a creative tetradilectical tension. One of those value-realizations is metaphysical knowledge, which yields ontological insights about creation and Creator, which further informs our theological speculations, which, in turn, have a weighty practical

significance for our approach to theosis, which has profound influence on our life of prayer, our life in community, our unitive strivings, our formative spiritualities and our transformative journeys. And this is why I see such a real danger in the radical apophaticisms and gnostic arationalisms that come from the category errors of those who wrongly extrapolate nondual epistemological experiences to such broad, sweeping ontological conclusions regarding, even, such metaphysical realities as the essential description of the Creator-creature relationship. To engage in a seemingly robust description of a Reality to Whom we can otherwise only vaguely refer (according to all time-honored dogma of every Abrahamic tradition) is heterodox, indeed. One of the reasons that it is difficult to robustly describe the interplay of our different human faculties, that it is difficult to attain explanatory adequacy for exactly how this tertradilectical tension navigates us toward our valuerealizations, in my view, is precisely because we are made in the image and likeness of God, which is to recognize and affirm an unfathomable depth dimension to our human experience of God, creation and one another. We are fearfully and wondrously made! It is nothing to trivialize through reductionistic accounts, nothing to romanticize through overly simplistic and pietistic accounts. It is something, instead, to inspire mysterium tremendum et fascinans! There are time-honored traditions for discerning spirits, for evaluating alternating consolations and desolations, for recognizing the fruits of the Spirit, for the treatment of private revelation, for the recognition of true prophetic voices, for guaging the journey to human authenticity via intellectual conversion, affective conversion, moral conversion, sociopolitical conversion and religious conversion. By their fruits, then, ye shall know them. If there is one fruit that leaves a really bad taste in my mouth, then it is impolitic speech and incivil, ad hominem discourse. Let us explore, then, the creative tension between competing ideas and downplay any interpersonal tension, which is, rather, destructive of all that leads to truth, beauty, goodness and unity. In spiritual direction, it can be a thorny task discerning together existential versus psychological issues, or spiritual emergence/emergencies. In psychology, it can be difficult to diagnose depression as organic or reactive. The point is that none of this lends itself to a facile analysis. But, also, in spiritual direction, suppose, for example, that one goal is to see ourselves as God see us, to employ an Ignatian approach. Or, perhaps our director has us working through our different conceptions of God, our different images of God. In either case, a proper understanding of our self, our false self, our true self, or even our noself, and a proper understanding of God, and a proper understanding of who we are called to be in relationship to the world, other people, the self, the devil and the Trinity --- will profoundly impact our life of prayer, our worship, our ministry, our fellowship. If we misconceive God as a stern, unforgiving Father-figure, as an eternal policeman, then it will affect all of the above understandings and experiences of self, other, world and God. If we misconceive the creature-Creator relationship when we come out of a nondual experience, or a no-self experience, then it, too, can profoundly influence all of these other understanding and experiences. This is not just a danger for people

immersed in apophatic experiences. We have always recognized that wrongful over- and under-emphases on this or that epistemic capacity can lead to error. For example, an overemphasis on the apohatic and affective can lead to quietism; on the affective and speculative can lead to encratism; on the kataphatic and affective to fideism and pietism; on the kataphatic and speculative to rationalism; and so on and so forth. These encounters are integrally-related. Wrenched out of their context in the whole, they get swollen to madness in their isolation (to borrow a metaphor from CS Lewis). Quietism, arationalism, gnosticism and other insidious -isms are the "fruits" of a tree not planted near living water. But so are rationalism, fideism, pietism, scientism and so on. In my previous post, I prescribe, in mostly philosophical/psychological terms, a remedy, which has significant practical import for the life of prayer and our life in community and our growth in authenticity and interiority. On my own journey, there are many distinctions that I have found very useful for processing my various experiences. For example, I feel like I can legitimately distinguish between: 1) phenomenal states 2) developmental stages 3) psychic structures 4) epistemological faculties 5) ontological categories 6) metaphysical realities 7) positivist sciences 8) philosophic (normative) sciences 9) practical sciences (including theological) 10) theotic sciences (e.g. formative spirituality) When it comes to the experience of no self , in particular, I have found Merton's distinctions especially useful: 1) existential vs theological 2) apophatic vs kataphatic 3) natural vs supernatural 4) immanent vs transcendent 5) impersonal vs personal Further, from Merton, I came to better understand that the false self is a necessary part of our development and is not lost but transcended on the journey of transformation, which is to say that we go beyond it but not without it as we grow in likeness to God. This is not incompatible with the view that I recently shared regarding my own philosophical conception of nonduality: quote: I do not see anything wrong with viewing creation and creatures as quasi-autonomous realities that exist in God with both the Creator and the created order operating in and through a Divine matrix of interrelated causes and effects. So, I certainly do not equate any conception of the transcendence of this False Self with an experience of the No Self. Rather, I equate the latter with what Arraj has described as the loss of the affective ego. And

we should be aware that this is a very complex psychospiritual dynamic that doesn't lend itself to facile analyses and diagnoses, whether from this depression or that, dark nights, enlightenment, the threshold of contemplation, infused contemplation and so on. I am grateful to people like Ken Wilber, Tony deMello and Bernadette Roberts for the depth of their personal sharing and the breadth of their imagination and intellection. It provides much food for thought and experiential grist for the formative spirituality mill. My chief criticism is that they have all, apparently, in one way or another, committed major category errors vis a vis, for example, the many distinctions I have outlined above. I say apparently because it possible that their thoughts could be more heavily nuanced. Above all, whatever it is that is going on vis a vis their own phenomenal states, psychic structures and developmental stages, they have drawn sweeping and unwarranted conclusions regarding metaphysical realities, in my view.

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Christian Nonduality

Hermeneutical Eclecticism & Interreligious Dialogue
NEW: Cathlimergent Internet Forum The Christian Nonduality Blog Home Radical Emergence Nonduality & the Emerging Church Emergence Happens When: To Avow & Dis-avow an Axiological Vision of the Whole Montmarte, Colorado Springs & the Kingdom Wanted: Women Warriors Maiden, Mother, Crone & Queen: archetypes & transformation East Meets West Ki, Qi, Chi, Prana & Kundalini No-Self & Nirvana elucidated by Dumoulin One: Essential Writings in Nonduality - a review Simone Weil John of the Cross Thomas Merton The True Self The Passion Hermeneutical Eclecticism & Interreligious Dialogue The Spirit Christian Nonduality more on Nonduality The Contemplative Stance Hesychasm Mysticism - properly considered Karl Rahner Wounded Innocence Rogation Days Radical Orthodoxy

Two related questions recur in contemplative dialogue. Can the spiritual technology of one religion be useful in other religions? When it comes to metaphysics, natural theologies and theologies of  nature, can we coherently import certain concepts and terms and ideas  from one system into what might otherwise be an incommensurable  system? In both cases, in my view, the answer is yes. In philosophy, methods can be extracted from systems (although I prefer to call my method a methodological incrementalism in media res rather than a philosophical naturalism, which implies a dualism about which I remain agnostic). Rather than use the term secular society, which, arguably (with the Radical Orthodox here), does not successfully refer, I like broader pluralistic community. We can also successfully abstract spiritual practices from religious interpretations. And, in our natural theologies and theologies of nature, we can efficaciously and  interchangeably employ metaphysical and theological analogies and  metaphors between and across systems, insofar as they are not otherwise system-bound. In my Peircean rubric, the normative, descriptive, interpretive and evaluative foci of human value-realization are clearly epistemically related. This is not, however, the same thing as saying that they are necessarily logically-related. This applies, also, to the Lonerganian conversions and transcendental imperatives. This also would apply to the distinctions we draw between orthopraxis, orthodoxy, orthopathos and orthocommunio as they relate, respectively, to code, creed, cult and community. Orthopathos very much involves, then, our spiritual technologies, which might include everything we refer to as practice, ritual and  spiritual exercises, for example, such as meditative practices and techniques, yogic practices and exercises, and so on and so forth. In terms of the Lonerganian-Gelpian conversions, for example, these technologies can foster affective conversion. They can also advance intellectual conversion through the transcendental imperatives Be Attentive! and Be intelligent! as we fine-tune our empirical and semantical awareness, better attending to reality and self-critically mindful of our use of concepts and referents and degrees of abstraction. What comes to mind, here, are various meditative practices of the East and West. As Richard Rohr points out, these are practices not conclusions. This is to recognize that such spiritual technology is not necessarily tied into specific religious beliefs. When it comes to metaphysics, natural theologies and theologies of nature, which involve the interpretive focus of our human value-

Presuppositionalism vs Nihilism? Science Epistemic Virtue Pan-semioentheism: a pneumatological theology of nature Architectonic Anglican - Roman Dialogue The Ethos of Eros Musings on Peirce Eskimo Kiss Waltz the Light Side of Dark Comedy Blog Visits Other Online Resources Are YOU Going to Scarborough Fair? Suggested Reading Tim King's Post Christian Blog The Dylan Mass If You Are In Distress, Spiritual or Otherwise pending The Great Tradition properly conceived Postmodern Conservative Catholic Pentecostal

realizations, we can draw a distinction between this focus and the descriptive focus in that the interpretive focus traffics very heavily in heuristic and dogmatic concepts and terms and pretty much exclusively in what Maritain called ananoetic knowledge, which is strictly analogical and metaphorical. The descriptive focus traffics mostly in theoretic and semiotic concepts and terms, as well as some heuristic, and also employs both the perinoetic and dianoetic knowledges of science and mathematics, for example. While within any given system, analogical references may be logically-related to a specific theoretic or  even dogmatic perspective, it is precisely because of the ananoetic or analogical nature of the term that it needn't necessarily be strictly related to that particular system, in and of itself. For example, think of the widely used evolutionary analog. Thus it is that we can coherently and profitably employ analogies across and between systems as they are not system-bound. So, both orthopathic and ananoetic aspects of interpretive systems can be legitimately and profitably employed interreligiously, interideologically and intersystematically, enhancing our modeling power of reality and enriching our depth encounter of reality, because they are epistemically-related in such systems but not strictly logicallyrelated. This is why our analogical and pneumatological imaginations can boldly speculate without fear of a facile syncretism. This is why we can fruitfully exchange spiritual technologies (practices) without fear of a false irenicism or insidious indifferentism regarding religious and metaphysical interpretations (conclusions). Analogs and metaphors are the fuel of our imaginative engines, so do not let doctrinal watchdogs pour water in your tank! Practices are tune-ups we give our spiritual engines, so don't let a cranky dogmatic mechanic force you into their liminal pit-stop! Finally, as I have pointed out elsewhere, there's a lot less doctrine and metaphysics going on in much of Buddhism, for example, than most westerners realize, bringing, as they so often do, an incurably dualistic mindset to the discussion table, all preoccupied with ontologies. addendum: So, how do we launch these fantastical flights of theo-fancy? Well, our imaginative faculties kick in, our analogical imagination and, if we are so formed, our pneumatological imaginations. And there is a reciprocity going on, in my view, derived from our integralist holism or nonfoundational perspectivalism. Not only are our analogical imaginations fostering our leap from positivist and normative sciences to theological machinations, our theological ruminations and affectations serve to illuminate all of our other enterprises via coherence. Our tautologies get progressively more taut. Orthopathos conditions and informs our approach not only to God but to all of reality. Stanley Jaki, who died last week (mid-April 2009), spent much of his career documenting, historically, how science was birthed in the cradle of monotheism, in general, and Christianity, in particular. How would Pannenberg put it: our God experiences help "fill out" the space left by insufficient scientific data? And, conversely, again with reciprocity, our data from science provides us, perhaps, proleptical glimpses into eschatological realities?

In some sense, then, we know from semiotic science, which has brought back minimalist notions of both formal and final causalities, that reality's otherwise tacit dimensions can have utterly efficacious effects on future events. Nothing spooky here. Just think of an empty riverbed in Arizona, a wash they call it, and how when the rain cascades down the mountainside the riverbed will determine the waterflow around curves and bends and over waterfalls. Our intepretation and processing of signs, in the same way, does not require energetic causation (efficient), yet they are entirely and utterly efficacious without in anyway violating physical causal closure. The important take-away is that telos, the future, is NOW. There is a minimalist telos active in nature. This is noncontroversial. By analogy, we can extend this, imaginatively, to God's action in the cosmos. The big objections to these notions have always been theodicy considerations. All we can say is that we see a pattern in nature, herself, where paschal rhythms are profuse. In nonequilibrium thermodynamics, the greater the number of permutations and bifurcations that go into a dissipative structure, the greater the risk of disintegration and the more fragile; the more fragile, the more beautiful. We risk disintegration, kenosis, to realize beauty. Epistemically, we run out ahead of logic, aesthetics and ethics in order to augment our value realizations through faith, hope and love. We leverage or amplify our risks to augment our value-realizations. Nothing ventured. Nothing gained. Like the Delta Zeta sorority motto: A turtle sticks its neck out in order to make progress. Not unlike the Whiteheadian notion that creative advance takes place along the borders of chaos. Thus, God shrunk and made room for us through his divine selfdelimitation. His presence as the Holy Spirit is a tacit dimension,  like  our experience of limits, the liminoid, the liminal, wholly unobtrusive and hence a gentlemanly suitor, but utterly efficacious in realizing her designs as a seductress, calling reality forward toward the eschaton. Like Phil Hefner says: we are created co-creators. We run risks. We shrink. Paradoxically, we wager it all to gain that and more. It coheres, for me, anyway. This is synthetic thinking, not systematic, which is for philosophers and theologians. This site sets forth an exploratory heuristic as a metacritique of religious epistemologies and theologies of nature, hence a nonfoundational perspectivalism normed by common sense and a receptive heart (inspired by Peirce's pragmatic logic) and a  pneumatological theology of nature, a pansemioentheism, suggested by vague analogical references but not otherwise aspiring to robustly systematic descriptions.

Christian Nonduality http://twitter.com/johnssylvest Bird Photos by David Joseph Sylvest johnboy@christiannonduality.com

Christian Nonduality

John of the Cross
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   A LITURGICAL MYSTICISM the "Collected Works of St. John of the Cross" translated by Kavanaugh & Rodriguez (ICS) have a Scriptural Index which reveals that Juan cited almost every book of the Old & New Testaments in his writings and the citations number somewhere between 800-1,000 bible references (i haven't counted but that is a fair estimate)!! it is easy to understand how new students of contemplative spirituality focus on, what is to them, the novelty of Juan's via negativa. one would err, however, by failing to take into account Juan's fidelity to Scripture, Sacraments, Liturgy and almost-Ignatian emphasis on "God in All Things" and almostFranciscan emphasis on creation. (how's that for a litany of kataphatic modalities?) Denis Read OCD, an ICS member, calls Juan the "liturgical mystic" and
sanjuanist spirituality "liturgical

spirituality". in addition to Juan's love and fidelity to Scripture, to the Eucharist
(one of greatest personal

trials in prison in Toledo was not being able to celebrate Eucharist) and to the other sacraments (strong

Presuppositionalism vs Nihilism? Science Epistemic Virtue Pan-semioentheism: a pneumatological theology of nature Architectonic Anglican - Roman Dialogue The Ethos of Eros Musings on Peirce Eskimo Kiss Waltz the Light Side of Dark Comedy Blog Visits Other Online Resources Are YOU Going to Scarborough Fair? Suggested Reading Tim King's Post Christian Blog The Dylan Mass If You Are In Distress, Spiritual or Otherwise pending The Great Tradition properly conceived Postmodern Conservative Catholic Pentecostal

emphasis on reconciliation), Juan quoted the Church's liturgical books liberally, including hymns, antiphons of the LOH - Divine Office, Roman Ritual, etc etc etc! Richard Hardy, PhD in "Embodied Love in John of the Cross" states: "The question we must answer is whether John is espousing the goal of an ethereal, "purely spiritual" love, or rather an embodied love replete with sensuality and delight." Juan's emphasis on nature, the imagery of his poetry, his relational imagery reveal a man overflowing with sensuality and delight! he is selling us on nothing less than Divine Eros and as Hardy says: "in the light of this erotic love challenges today's Christian to embrace a lifestyle that risks all for the sake of all." the apophatic-kataphatic remains in a highly creative tension with Juan and gets resolved, not by emphasis on one mode versus the other, but rather by a rhythmicity, by Juan's recognition of God's every "spiration" and by Juan's "re"-spiring in accordance with same. Juan does NOT move us away from sensory delight but to purified sensory delight. Juan does not negate the kataphatic devotion but
moves us to transformed

devotion. it is reminiscent of the early Tony de Mello who would have us not cling to a note, not because the note is not beautiful, but so we would not miss the symphony. the early-Tony bids us "Wake Up!" and take it all in. the later-Tony did articulate a radical apophaticism which is, to me, at the least, an impoverished formative spirituality. perhaps my studies of neurological and biological circadian rhythms biased or sensitized me to paschal rhythmicities, liturgical seasonalities, liturgical rhythms of the day and night, and finally to resolve apophatic-kataphatic tensions rhythmically, cyclically. sanjuanist liturgical mysticism is "mysticism par excellence" and i will not
be bashful in pointing out that

negativa et positiva is the summit of mt carmel even if negativa sans positiva
is a pretty high oriental base

camp and positiva sans negativa is equally high on the occidental side of the mountain. Thomas Keating on aprophatic/kataphatic contemplation a misleading distinction suggesting opposition between the two, in fact, a proper preparation of the faculties (kataphatic practice) leads to apophatic contemplation, which in turn is sustained through appropriate

kataphatic practices. *** Thomas Keating; Open Heart, Open Mind. I guess i burned a lot of bandwidth to suggest that there are "onenesses" and there is the ONENESS. people from manifold religions, traditions, paths can and do experience both on their earthly sojourns. my discernment, in the final analysis, is that when one is desiring or yearning or panting or longing or aching or wounded or in the desert or in dryness or in desolation or in aridity or in the dark night, and there experiences a "luminosity of the will" which sees clearly a path of love through the dark, a "steadfastness of the heart" which follows steps in the sand after that lover Who has trod unseen beyond the many dunes ahead, and a kenosis, but not of those Godly attributes which Jesus didn't cling to, but rather an emptying of,or a fasting from, the appetites to acquire those attributes (which are not our inheritance in the first place), then they will know that all shall be well. Are you desiring or yearning or panting or longing or aching or wounded or in the desert or in dryness or in desolation or in aridity or in the dark night but passionately committed to Truth, Beauty, Justice and Love, with them as friends= philia? because of storge = your connaturality with them? Are you unswervingly dedicated to these paths because they are their own rewards? Then I would say you have an agapic love for God. Hang on and the day will come when you will desire to desire, yearn to yearn, long to long, will ache bittersweetly, will drink of the dryness and will experience the aridity as Presence. Then you will have an erotic love for God, too. You will know that this Lover is desiring you. She is yearning and longing for you, no less than you for Her. You have been transformed from image to a greater likeness because you will be experiencing within you God's very experience of and toward you! You wanted to be like God?!? Well that is how He feels toward you! deep desire! endless longing! boundless yearning! When you realize this, you will be brought to the heights! you will have ascended Mt Carmel by descending to the depths! you will have entered a horizonless, beatific

expanse having gone deep within your own interior mansions! I'd say that in many respects, our storge and philia of God are our natural endowments, our humanity, our image, our connaturality and that agape and eros of God (and Hers toward us) are our supernatural endowments, our deification, our likeness, our transformation. inauthentic paths perhaps place eros in front of agape. this is a perilous path in human relationships as it is, however much western civilization has idolized romantic love. God will not let us suffer that peril with Her and so agape without eros comes first, that is to say the aridity, the darkness. lo and behold, we pursue agape and eros ensues and you will know this when the darkness becomes a luminosity of numinosity, the dryness becomes a fountain of charity, the longing becomes fulfillment, the desert an oasis of purified love. there is no temptation to "throw in the towel" or to give up searching for this Lover. the darkness is limerance. the dryness is infatuation. in their perfection they are transformed into a Divine "Glandular" Chemistry of rarified eros, far removed from the pre-pubescent or adolescent hormonally-driven selfish energy. in reflecting on aridity or darkness or the metaphor du jour within the context of our agapic and erotic love for God i thought of how, in our human loves, we typically pursue eros then agape ensues or the relationship dies; i recall how when we experience the raging hormones, the glandular chemistry, the limerance, the infatuation, we don't want the eros to end, as it surely will in many respects. it is a type of yearning that has been called "falling in love with love" and we have observed this addictive cycle of euphoric recall. i then thought of how, in our love for God, we eventually must pursue agape and have eros ensue (not that we don't try the other way around) and how the relationship perdures in this "approach". occasionally we hear anecdotes of married lovers having started out as friends prior to falling in love and how such relationships seem superior in many aspects. and you will recall this from earlier: well the yearning and longing and pining away for God does not end

after we are wounded. people talk about what a curse it would be to stay in limerance or infatuation throughout the course of any human relationship. well i've got good news and i've got bad news. the bad news: our erotic love for God that ensues in the wake of our agapic love persists; this insistent longing, this yearning, this aching and wounded heart, remains a "curse" of the beloved as this eros endures. the good news: this curse transforms to blessing and the eros perdures, the yearning never ends, the longing goes on and on. now think about it. do you *really* want this "falling in love with Love" to end? this, in fact, is what it is all about Alfie! befriending desires, welcoming darkness, drinking from a dry well, are all about eros staying with you in your love relationship. it is delightfully wounding. it's the driest but the most delectable vintage. it is perpetual orgasmic energy on the brink, never post-climactically spent. it is a forever-parched thirst unquenchable in the pouring rain. it is a beauty ever-revealing, neither timid nor coy, but never exposed from all vantage points. it is an expanding horizon ever receding. it is an appetite ever-tasting morsels, but never satiated. do you *really* want this to end? this is what calls you forth, sends you where you'd not otherwise go. anyway, give some thought to this because it may be that, as dark nights go, the only difference between a twilight and a dawn might be a hermeneutic of your own making, might come about from facing west and not east. your desire to have God's hermeneutics is the beginning of His work in you and, at that stage of a true dark night (one not due to mere backsliding), other than pure desire on your part, the rest of the work is His. i just offer these ideas as a way to companion with you while you wait (for what could be a very long time). And so our truth-seekers will continue their discourse and analyses; our justice-seekers will continue their advocacies; our love-complements will build vibrant communities and continue to serve. What I wish to advocate, here, though, is the notion that we need to better nurture both the individual and collective application of our intuitive faculties, especially in our western spiritualities. Tony deMello spent his life teaching the

importance of awareness versus analysis, of insight versus information, perhaps patterned after the founder of his order, St. Ignatius, who emphasized the need to "taste" the truth versus merely "knowing" the truth. Oliver Sacks' book and movie, "Awakenings", describes how brain-damaged individuals can be roused out of stupor by music and art when nothing else can reach them. None of this is to denigrate the other modes of contribution. It is offerred as an affirmation of what has been too often neglected, of what we might more often be about in spiritual direction. From Amos Wilder: "Imagination is a necessary component of all profound knowing and celebration ... It is at the level of imagination that any full engagement with life takes place." From Morton Kelsey: "God knew that human beings learn more by story and music, by art, symbols, and images than by logical reasoning, theorems, and equations, so God's deepest revelations have always been expressed in images and stories." And so, perhaps a different experience of the mystery of God is in store for the asking. Our growth in freedom, in love ...in awareness via all faculties ...may ensue.

Christian Nonduality http://twitter.com/johnssylvest Bird Photos by David Joseph Sylvest johnboy@christiannonduality.com

"there must be a renewal of communion between the traditional, contemplative disciplines and those of science, between the poet and the physicist, the priest and the depth psychologist, the monk and the politician." Merton   While Merton affirms that our symbols can bring us into closer contact with reality, he cautions against identifying them with reality. In a sense, he was saying, with Ralph Waldo Emerson : "Heartily know. When half-gods go, The gods arrive.".   "What is this (contemplative prayer) in relation to action? Simply this. He (and she) who attempts to act and do things for others or for the world without this deepening of his own self-understanding, freedom, integrity, and capacity to love, will not have anything to give others. He will communicate to them nothing but the contagion of his own obsessions, his aggressiveness, his egocentered ambitions, his delusions about ends and means, his doctrinaire prejudices and ideas." Thomas Merton," The Climate of Mon